The Trump administration announced in August that it was giving TikTok 90 days to divest itself of its assets in the United States, considering it a firm that jeopardizes national security. The original deadline expired on Nov. 12 and was later extended by 15 and 7 days. On Friday, Dec. 4, the last deadline expired and the government this time decided not to extend it.
A representative of the U.S. Treasury Department said on Friday night in a communication with Fox News that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), despite not having extended the sale deadline, “is working with ByteDance to complete its divestiture and other steps necessary to address national security risks.”
According to Fox, President Trump has reportedly personally made a decision not to approve further extensions to the TikTok divestiture timeline. The news was reportedly announced at a meeting of senior U.S. officials, according to one insider. The government had previously issued a 15-day and seven-day extension of the original 90-day deadline.
The Trump administration contends that TikTok poses serious national security risks because of its ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), given that the CCP could very easily access the personal data of U.S. users. It should be noted that TikTok has over 100 million users in the United States alone.
In light of this critical situation, the Trump administration decided to allow TikTok to operate in the United States only if it is sold to a local company.
In August, President Trump issued two executive orders limiting all operational transactions of both TikTok and WeChat. And in case the assets are not sold to a U.S. firm, the president could even ban U.S. application stores from offering the popular application and make advertising on the platform illegal, said Reuters.
These measures could completely cripple the funding and growth of the app in the United States. “That kills TikTok in the United States,” James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters. “If they want to grow, these rules are a big obstacle.”
At the same time, in August, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that, if passed, would require any electronic device belonging to government officials to remove the TikTok social network. Multiple branches of the military, as well as the TSA, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have already banned TikTok.
“We want to see unreliable Chinese applications removed from application stores in the United States. President Trump has mentioned imminent action on TikTok, and for good reason,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference on Wednesday, CNBC reported.
After a failed buyout negotiation by Microsoft in September, TikTok announced that it had a preliminary agreement for Walmart and Oracle to take a stake in the firm. President Trump agreed to the deal but no progress in the negotiations has been published since then.