The Biden administration is putting on a pause on government-backed efforts to force the sale of TikTok's US operations. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, TikTok's preliminary deal with Oracle and Walmart has been "shelved indefinitely" while the Biden administration conducts its own review of security risks posed by foreign-owned apps and software.
Last August, then-President Donald Trump signed two executive orders that sought to ban downloads of Chinese-owned social media apps WeChat and TikTok. Trump's orders branded TikTok and WeChat as national security threats with respect to data collection, and the information and communications technology and services supply chain.
However in September, Oracle and Walmart swooped in and announced they would acquire 20% of a newly formed TikTok Global and issue an IPO within 12 months, effectively saving TikTok's US footprint from being banned. At the time, Oracle said it would be TikTok's cloud provider and own a 12.5% stake in the social media network. Walmart was set to own a 7.5% stake and explore the intersection of TikTok and e-commerce.
The deal has reportedly been shelved while the Biden administration makes its own assessment of the security risks posed by Chinese tech companies.
"We plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data that addresses the full range of threats we face," National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said to the Journal. "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."