US Grants China's ByteDance New 7-Day Extension to Sell TikTok

US Grants China's ByteDance New 7-Day Extension to Sell TikTok
General view of the TikTok building, in Culver City, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2020. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
Bowen Xiao

China-based ByteDance Technology Co.—which owns video-sharing app TikTok—has been granted a new seven-day extension to sell its popular app, according to a court filing.

The extension, granted by the Trump administration on Nov. 25, comes after President Donald Trump first ordered Bytedance to divest the app in August within a 90-day timeframe. According to the filing, the new deadline will now be Dec. 4.

TikTok, wildly popular among American teens, has come under bipartisan scrutiny over national security and privacy concerns in relation to its Chinese ownership. The crux of the concern is that under a 2017 national intelligence law, Chinese companies are required to provide their data to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

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.

A TikTok spokesperson didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from The Epoch Times.

“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has granted ByteDance a one-week extension, from November 27, 2020, to December 4, 2020, to allow time to review a revised submission that the Committee recently received,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said on Nov. 25, Variety reported.

The committee reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks. ByteDance acquired TikTok through a 2017 acquisition.
Experts in cyberintelligence, technology, digital privacy, and trade policy told The Epoch Times previously that the United States is right to sound the alarm about what it perceives as genuine threats to U.S. cybersecurity. There are concerns of censorship, surveillance, and data collection on U.S. citizens being sent to China by TikTok.
Trump has recently taken a firm stance on Chinese apps. On Aug. 6, he issued executive orders that ban transactions with TikTok and social media app WeChat after Sept. 20. The orders also ban transactions with ByteDance and WeChat’s parent company, Tencent Holdings.
A full-fledged ban of the app could still materialize as small-scale restrictions are already taking place. The Senate recently unanimously approved a bill introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) that bans government employees from using TikTok on government devices.

The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Transportation Security Administration have already barred TikTok on government devices, and in December 2019, the U.S. Army blocked its soldiers from using the app.

The Epoch Times previously reported that more than 130 employees at ByteDance are part of a CCP committee embedded in the company. Many of the employees work in management positions, according to internal documents. ByteDance, founded in March 2012, set up its Party committee in October 2014.
And in October, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced legislation aimed at safeguarding U.S. national security from high-risk foreign mobile apps, particularly those from China. Rubio singled out TikTok and Chinese messaging app WeChat for their threats to personal privacy.

Separate restrictions on TikTok from the Commerce Department have been blocked by federal courts, including transaction curbs that TikTok said could effectively ban the app’s use in the United States.

A Commerce Department ban on Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google offering TikTok for download for new U.S. users that had been set to take effect on Sept. 27 has also been blocked.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Bowen Xiao was a New York-based reporter at The Epoch Times. He covers national security, human trafficking and U.S. politics.
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