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TikTok Avoids Shutdown, Commerce Department Won’t Enforce Deadline

The popular video app was facing a Thursday deadline

The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday said it wouldn’t enforce a deadline for TikTok to shutdown operating in the States, “pending further legal developments.” The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the story.

The deadline, set to go into effect on Thursday, would’ve blocked companies like Apple and Google from offering TikTok’s app. Government officials pointed to a preliminary injunction from a federal judge in Philadelphia last month, which said the Commerce Department likely went beyond its authority in setting a ban deadline. The lawsuit was brought by three popular TikTok users who said the shutdown would impact their livelihoods.

TikTok had also been facing a Nov. 12 deadline from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for its parent company, Beijing-based Bytedance, to divest its U.S. assets. On Tuesday, TikTok filed a petition asking for a 30-day extension on its deadline because, according to TikTok, government officials hadn’t given the company feedback on its divestment plan in weeks. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Thursday afternoon granted TikTok until Dec. 14 to file more paperwork on its divestment plans.

In August, President Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok unless it offloaded its U.S. operations, citing national security concerns tied to the app’s data collection policies and close ties to China’s communist government. A month later, TikTok reached a deal with Oracle to become the app’s “trusted technology provider” in the U.S. Oracle and Walmart would take a 20% stake in TikTok Global, a new American offshoot that would likely go public in 2021, as part of the deal. But while President Trump initially gave the deal his “blessing,” it has since been in limbo, as federal regulators have looked for Bytedance to offload a bigger share of the business.