The acquisition of the social medium TikTok by Oracle seems to have been put on hold for the time being, now that Joe Biden has taken over as US President from Donald Trump. Biden first wants to re-examine the security risks of the app.
According to The Wall Street Journal sources, the US government’s plans to force ByteDance to sell TikTok have been shelved indefinitely. The security teams first want to re-examine the potential privacy and security threats posed by foreign technology.
“We plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data that addresses the full range of threats we face,” Emily Horne, spokesperson for the National Security Council told the newspaper. “This includes the risk posed by Chinese apps and other software that operate in the U.S. In the coming months, we expect to review specific cases in light of a comprehensive understanding of the risks we face.”
This does not rule out the possibility that ByteDance may still be forced to sell TikTok. The new government still has concerns about data collection in the app and the possibility of manipulating or censoring the content within it. However, the new government first wants to make these concerns concrete before taking hard measures.
Sanctions against China
In recent years, former President Donald Trump has launched an attack on various Chinese companies. The Trump administration suspected that the Chinese government was working with the companies to spy on American citizens, among other things. This led to electronics company Huawei being completely stripped, and last year the social medium TikTok was targeted by the sanctions as well.
The Trump administration announced it would ban TikTok in his country unless parent company ByteDance moved its US operations outside of China. In concrete terms, this would mean a sale to another company. Several companies showed interest, including Microsoft, Walmart and Oracle.
Negotiations are still open, but by now, Trump’s deadline has passed, and the app is still available in the US. This is largely due to a lawsuit started by three TikTok influencers. They were dependent on TikTok for their income and would lose it if TikTok were blocked. Making the app only accessible to the plaintiffs and their followers was not feasible, so the judge decided to ban the blockade.