To make things more confusing, TikTok’s court case isn’t the only thing governing the future of the app.
What started all of this?
TikTok, meanwhile, has pushed back against the claim that it poses a security risk, saying that the user data it keeps on Americans is stored stateside, with a backup in Singapore. Its opposition to the ban spurred TikTok to sue the Trump administration in federal court.
What happened to the ban?
A ban on the ability to download TikTok from US app stores was originally supposed to go into effect Sept. 20, according to the US Commerce Department.
The US Commerce Department has said that it intends to “vigorously defend” its order, and there have been no major developments in the court case since the judge issued his ruling last week.
But the app store ban is not the only TikTok deadline on the US government’s radar.
Confusingly, one of Trump’s executive orders gave TikTok a much longer Nov. 12 deadline to find a US buyer. After that date, the Commerce Department said internet backbone companies would be banned from carrying the app’s traffic, effectively shutting down TikTok’s US operations.
TikTok could also try to push that deadline back. The company has until Oct. 14 to file a request to temporarily block those restrictions.
What’s happening with that deal?
The agreement with Oracle and Walmart is still a work in progress. The two firms would own at least part of a new entity called TikTok Global, which would be headquartered in the United States.
Trump has said he won’t approve the deal unless Americans control the company. That demand has caused confusion, since an initial announcement about the tie-up with Oracle and Walmart implied that ByteDance would continue to own a majority of Tiktok going forward. (In the days after that, a person familiar with the deal told CNN Business that TikTok Global would be partially owned by ByteDance’s international and Chinese investors, but that ByteDance itself will hold zero percent of the company to be created by the deal to run the app outside of China.)
What about China?
ByteDance applied to the Chinese government last month for a license to export its technology, indicating that the company needs some kind of approval from China before the deal can go forward.
But ByteDance has said that the US deal does not involve the transfer of its algorithms and technologies — just that Oracle would be able to review the app’s source code.
What about WeChat?
There’s another Chinese-owned app that’s also facing pressure in the United States.
One of Trump’s August orders called for a ban on transactions using WeChat, not just TikTok. The app, which is owned by Tencent, is ubiquitous in China and is widely seen as equivalent to if Facebook, Paypal, LinkedIn and other platforms were all rolled into one. It’s also a popular way for people to stay in touch with friends, family and business contacts in China.
Last Friday, the US Justice Department said it would appeal that decision, which could stretch out litigation over the future of the app.
In addition to the appeal, Beeler is expected to reconsider her temporary halt on the ban Oct. 15.