So... whatever happened to the U.S. TikTok ban?
“Today, with the November 12 CFIUS deadline imminent and without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the US.”
The Trump administration announced its full ban on TikTok 89 days ago — which means tomorrow, November 12, is the end of the ban’s 90-day grace period. And the U.S. government still hasn’t provided TikTok with any updated information about the ban, the company told The Verge in a statement. Can’t imagine why they might’ve forgotten about it...
Last we heard, U.S.-based software conglomerate Oracle had been approved as a “trusted partner” for TikTok’s domestic operations. The November 12 deadline was originally set by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in order to allow TikTok to divest itself of any assets handled by offices and servers in China.
TikTok says CFIUS and the larger Trump administration have all but gone silent. “In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement – but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework,” the company said in a statement.
Remind me where we left off? — It’s only been a few months since Trump’s attack on TikTok came to a head, but already the complex details of the case are fading from the zeitgeist. An absurdly long election cycle and a prolonged pandemic will do that to you, I suppose. Here’s a quick(ish) recap of how the situation was left before the election took over all remaining mind-space.
Toward the end of October, a federal judge blocked a motion by the U.S. Commerce Department to cut off TikTok’s ability to host web space in the U.S. on November 12. This ruling didn’t stop Trump’s original ban ultimatum, but it did prevent the government from cutting off TikTok’s web access completely.
TikTok’s future seemed somewhat safe after Oracle and Walmart announced their intention to jointly purchase a sizable stake in the company, with plans to launch a new subsidiary called TikTok Global with operations based in the U.S. Then TikTok said actually, no, we’re not relinquishing any control with this deal — which was confusing to the public and the government alike.
Tomorrow could bring nothing at all — Given the Trump administration’s general lack of cohesion and overall sense of chaos at the moment, we’re not surprised its communications with TikTok have gone radio silent. We also won’t be surprised if TikTok is up and running fine in the U.S. tomorrow.
“Banning” the use of an app isn’t something Trump can do with the snap of his fingers; removing it from app stores will be complicated, and ceasing connectivity for existing users will be even more difficult. Trump is busy contesting the election results, so there’s a pretty good chance TikTok will live on in the U.S. after tomorrow.
If by some divine fate TikTok is taken offline tomorrow, we’ve got you covered with how you can still access it.