Commerce Department Allows TikTok to Continue Operating in the U.S.

As part of escalating tensions with China, President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this year that would have prevented social network services TikTok and WeChat from operating in the U.S. TikTok is a Chinese-owned video sharing service on which users can create and share short videos. The videos last no more than 15 seconds, or no more than 60 seconds if they are looping.

The Trump administration based the executive order on national security concerns. Since this would have essentially shut down TikTok in the U.S., TikTok challenged the executive order in court. The social media service obtained a temporary injunction in its favor in late October. However, uncertainty surrounding its future persists. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States issued another notice in early November that would require TikTok to sell or spin off its U.S. assets by November 27. This order appeared to conflict with the October injunction, so TikTok has filed a petition in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for further guidance on its options.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department has announced that TikTok can continue to operate in the U.S. The Commerce Department did not specifically address the order requiring TikTok to sell its U.S. assets, though, so the matter has not been resolved.

The company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, plans to sell 20 percent of TikTok Global to Walmart and Oracle. The Trump administration has approved this plan, but the Chinese government has not yet approved it. Thus, the future of this plan also remains uncertain.

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