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The United States Denies The Extension Of The Disinvestment Deadline From Friday To Tiktok: Report

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The Trump administration has reportedly denied a request to extend a Friday deadline for the parent company of popular video sharing app TikTok to divest U.S. assets.

Bytedance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, was ordered to divest by President Donald Trump on August 14. A last-minute request to delay Friday’s deadline was not granted, according to a Friday report from Reuters, citing two sources briefed on the matter. Regardless, talks between the government and the company are said to be ongoing.

Although Trump’s order gives the Justice Department the power to force the divestiture after the expiration of the deadline, it is not clear how or when that will take place. The deadline had previously been set for November 27 but was extended to Friday last week by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Prior to that, the company had been granted a 15-day extension of the order.

Trump alleges that the app poses national security concerns from the Chinese government, although Bytedance has denied that it poses any threat or shares data with the government. In a court filing last month, the company said it was working towards the creation of “a new entity, wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing U.S. investors in ByteDance, that would be responsible for handling TikTok’s U.S. user data and content moderation.”

The U.S. TikTok company headquarters building is pictured in Culver City, California on November 17, 2020.
VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty

Prior to ordering divestiture in the company’s U.S. assets, Trump had ordered that TikTok be banned in the U.S. on August 6, shortly after the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to approve a ban on federal employees using the app on government-issued devices.

“[TikTok] data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” Trump wrote in the executive order, which had at first been set to take effect within 45 days.

In a statement issued in response to the order, Bytedance said that Trump’s decision set “a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets” by “undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth.”

In September, a federal judge blocked a Commerce Department order seeking to implement the ban by prohibiting U.S. downloads of the app. Arguments in the case, which will determine whether a ban can go forward, are set to begin on December 14.

Newsweek reached out to Bytedance and the Department of Justice for comment.

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