TikTok Hasn’t Heard From the Trump Administration in Weeks, Prompting Latest CFIUS Petition

TikTok hasn’t had meaningful dialogue with the Trump administration’s committee on foreign investment in the United States (CFIUS) for weeks, according to people familiar with the matter, CNBC reported.

Executives at the company are still interested in completing a technology partnership with Oracle to satisfy national security concerns — even if President-Elect Joe Biden isn’t as concerned with TikTok’s risk profile under Chinese ownership. (TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, based in China.)

A November 12 CFIUS deadline calls for ByteDance to “divest any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance’s operation of the TikTok application in the United States.”

However, the CFIUS order doesn’t say what happens if ByteDance does not divest assets. That uncertainty prompted TikTok to file a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Tuesday, calling for a review of actions by CFIUS.

“For a year, TikTok has actively engaged with CFIUS in good faith to address its national security concerns, even as we disagree with its assessment,” TikTok said in a statement. “In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement – but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework.”

Trump has claimed that TikTok represents a national security threat because it collects American users’ data, which could then be accessed by the Chinese government. While TikTok continues to deny this, the company still wants to move forward with a deal to remove the issue of security as an overhang on the company, the people said.

Spokespeople for Oracle and the U.S. Treasury couldn’t be reached for immediate comment. A Biden technology advisor to the transition said it was “too early to say” Biden’s view on TikTok. Biden’s campaign told employees to delete TikTok off their work and personal devices due to security concerns in July.

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