The Chinese parent of TikTok has won a last-minute reprieve in the face of an order from the Trump administration that would have forced it to divest its US business.
The Trump administration originally gave the company 90 days to address national security concerns in an executive order that was signed off in August.
China’s ByteDance yesterday launched a petition against the White House instruction, insisting that delays on the side of the US government hobbled its ability to meet the requirements due to take effect imminently.
However, last night the US Commerce Department said it would not enforce the administration’s order “pending further legal action”, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal. The Department cited a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by three TikTok stars in Philadelphia in its decision.
ByteDance is also believed to be pressing ahead with its separate request for an injunction. The Chinese group filed its motion with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the hope that it will receive a court review of the divestment order.
President Donald Trump has alleged the Chinese company, which has 100m users in the US, shares its data with Beijing, a claim that TikTok has denied.
TikTok was expected to be banned from midnight on Thursday
The Chinese tech giant claims that the order and a finding by a US agency that TikTok was a national security threat were unlawful and violated the company’s constitutional rights. “Facing continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted, we requested the 30-day extension that is expressly permitted in the Aug 14 order,” a TikTok spokesman said. “Without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights.”
The company wants the court to review the actions of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a powerful takeover watchdog.
US retail giant Walmart and software business Oracle had agreed a deal in September to form a new entity to house TikTok’s US operations alongside ByteDance’s US investors. The deal had received provisional approval from the White House.