WASHINGTON/NEW YORK – The Trump administration has chosen not to extend again an order requiring ByteDance, a Chinese company, to divest TikTok’s U.S. assets, but talks will continue over the video-sharing app’s fate, two sources briefed on the matter said.
A Treasury Department representative said late Friday that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) was “engaging with ByteDance to complete the divestment and other steps necessary to resolve the national security risks.”
Last week, CFIUS granted TikTok parent ByteDance a one-week extension until Friday to shed TikTok’s U.S. assets.
President Donald Trump’s August order gave the Justice Department the power to enforce the divestiture order once the deadline expired, but it was unclear when or how the government might seek to compel divestiture.
Trump personally decided not to approve any additional extensions at a meeting of senior U.S. officials, according to a person briefed on the meeting. The government had previously issued a 15-day and seven-day extension of the initial 90-day deadline, which was November 12, on Trump’s order.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the White House did not comment. TikTok declined to comment.
The Trump administration contends TikTok poses national security concerns because the personal data of U.S. users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok, which has more than 100 million U.S. users, denies the allegation.
Under pressure from the U.S. government, ByteDance has been in talks for months to finalize a deal with Walmart Inc. and Oracle Corp. to shift TikTok’s U.S. assets into a new entity aimed to satisfy the divestiture order.
ByteDance made a new proposal aimed at addressing the U.S. government’s concerns, Reuters reported last week.
ByteDance made the proposal after disclosing on November 10 that it submitted four prior proposals, including one in November, that sought to address U.S. concerns by “creating a new entity, wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing U.S. investors in ByteDance, that would be responsible for handling TikTok’s U.S. user data and content moderation.”
In September, TikTok announced it had a preliminary deal for Walmart and Oracle to take stakes in a new company to oversee U.S. operations. Trump said the deal had his blessing.
On November 11, ByteDance filed a petition with a U.S. appeals court challenging the divestiture order and said it planned to file a request “to stay enforcement of the divestment order only if discussions reach an impasse and the government indicates an intent to take action to enforce the order.”
ByteDance said the Trump order seeks “to compel the wholesale divestment of TikTok, a multibillion-dollar business built on technology developed by” ByteDance, “based on the government’s purported national security review of a 3-year-old transaction that involved a different business.”
The Trump administration has been stymied in its efforts to restrict TikTok in the United States.
A federal judge in Washington on September 27 blocked a ban on Apple Inc. and Alphabet’s Google offering TikTok for download in U.S. app stores, while another judge on October 30 blocked government restrictions scheduled to take effect November 12 that ByteDance said would have effectively barred TikTok from operating in the United States.
A U.S. appeals court will hear arguments on the app store ban on December 14.