Last week, the US Department of Commerce announced a ban on both TikTok and WeChat, which would remove both from all US app stores from Sunday, September 20. The date has passed, and both apps are still available for download. Both apps succeeded with a delay, but it remains to be seen how long it will last.
TikTok̵7;s attempt to avoid a ban involved a buyout process that would become an American company. The US government had said that nothing less would be acceptable due to national security concerns. In the beginning, Microsoft was the leader to buy TikTok from the parent company Chinse ByteDance, but these conversations coincided.
Oracle and Walmart joined forces and won the bidding process, but it left ByteDance as the majority owner, with Oracle only owning a 20% stake. When the US Department of Commerce announced the impending ban, it seemed that the Oracle / Walmart bid was not good enough.
But things are changing fast, and now President Trump has given his approval of the Oracle and Walmart deal to buy a stake in TikTok. However, the exact details are obscure. According to Oracle’s CEO: “In creating TikTok Global, Oracle / Walmart will make its investments and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to its owners, the Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.”
ByteDance does not seem to agree and claims that it will have majority ownership in TikTok. In any case, the US Department of Commerce announced that it will push back the ban by one week until September 27, 2020 at. 23.59 (no time zone specified). So at the moment, TikTok is still available in app stores for download while all the companies involved have removed the details.
WeChat, on the other hand, is not involved in a buyout of any kind. Instead, the courts intervened to block the ban. WeChat users sued on behalf of the company, arguing that a ban would impede freedom of expression for the first amendment.
U.S. Magistrate Laurel Beeler agreed and blocked the ban for these reasons, writing: “The appellants have raised serious issues that justify the requirement of the First Amendment, the balance between difficulty tips in favor of the plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs establish sufficient other elements for preliminary injunction. ”
The US Department of Commerce did not comment on the decision, but it may appeal to try to reverse the order and follow up on the ban. So WeChat is not out of the woods yet.
via The Verge, TechCrunch, CNBC