Trump Signs Off on Deal Allowing TikTok to Continue U.S. Operations--Update
By Andrew Restuccia, John D. McKinnon and Georgia Wells
WASHINGTON -- President Trump said he has agreed in principal to
a deal under which Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok will
partner with Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. to become a U.S.-based
company, capping negotiations that have stirred debate over
national security and the future of the internet.
"I have given the deal my blessing, if they get it done that's
great, if they don't that's fine too," Mr. Trump told reporters at
the White House on Saturday.
The negotiations over TikTok's U.S. operations began after the
president signed an executive order in August that labeled TikTok a
national-security threat, forcing its owner, Beijing-based
ByteDance Ltd., to pursue a sale or partnership with a U.S.
The administration contends that the data TikTok collects from
U.S. users could be shared with the Chinese government. TikTok has
said it would never hand over such data.
Oracle beat out several other companies that had expressed
interest in TikTok, including Microsoft Corp. and Twitter Inc.
In response to Mr. Trump's August executive order, the Commerce
Department on Friday issued regulations barring U.S. companies from
providing downloads or updates for TikTok after 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
The order also applies to WeChat, another popular Chinese-owned app
that isn't part of the deal discussions.
ByteDance has been locked in negotiations over how to address
the U.S. government's security concerns and this week seemed to be
gaining momentum toward an agreement that could be signed by Mr.
Mr. Trump told reporters Friday that he expected to make a
decision soon on that partnership.
"They're going to be showing me everything in a little while on
TikTok," the president told reporters at the White House before
departing for a rally in Minnesota. "We're going to make a fairly
fast decision. I don't think we have to delay it too much," he
added, calling TikTok "a pretty incredible asset."
Friday's move by the Commerce Department first appeared to throw
up a new roadblock, but the president's comments were greeted by
the deal participants as a positive sign that a resolution is
The negotiations already had been working against a Sunday
deadline as a result of the August executive order. The Commerce
Department's move clarified and defined how the Sunday ban would
work if the parties fail to reach an agreement that satisfies the
In a statement, TikTok said its proposal to the U.S. government
contained unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability
about how it handles user data, and that it disagrees with the
Commerce Department's move. The company has filed a lawsuit
challenging the August executive order.
"Our community of 100 million U.S. users love TikTok because
it's a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, and
we're committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we
continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to
those who create on our platform," TikTok said.
TikTok is hugely popular among young people in the U.S., and its
fate has been closely watched by its fans as well as Silicon
Valley's top executives.
Adam Mosseri, chief executive of Facebook Inc.'s Instagram
tweeted on Friday that a U.S. ban of TikTok "would be quite bad for
Instagram, Facebook, and the internet more broadly." Instagram
earlier this year launched a new service called Reels that includes
many features similar to TikTok and was seen as a potential threat
to the app's surge in popularity.
Vanessa Pappas, the interim head of TikTok, quickly voiced her
agreement with Mr. Mosseri and challenged his company to do more.
"We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge
and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our
competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression
and due process of law," she said on Twitter.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg had stoked concerns about TikTok in Washington.
Write to Andrew Restuccia at Andrew.Restuccia@wsj.com, John D.
McKinnon at firstname.lastname@example.org and Georgia Wells at
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 19, 2020 17:55 ET (21:55 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Historical Stock Chart
From Sep 2020 to Oct 2020
Historical Stock Chart
From Oct 2019 to Oct 2020