TikTok's Future in the U.S. May Be Decided by Biden After Trump Talks Stall

Video sharing app TikTok will continue to operate in the U.S. despite a Friday deadline to place the company's U.S. assets in American hands. A deal had been proposed but was not finalized by midnight ET.

This is the third time TikTok has received an extension on the deadline after President Donald Trump issued an executive order in August aimed at banning the Chinese-owned app, claiming it is a national security risk.

TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is trying to resolve its issues with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

CFIUS has said this is not a formal deadline extension for TikTok but the app will not be banned as negotiations continue.

"The committee is engaging with ByteDance to complete the divestment and other steps necessary to resolve the national security risks arising from the transaction, consistent with the president's August 14 order," a committee spokesperson said, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Despite TikTok's repeated reprieves, its future in the U.S remains uncertain. CFIUS still has the power to ask the Department of Justice to enforce Trump's executive order since no formal extension was granted. This would likely mean taking legal action against parent company ByteDance and trying to ban the app.

The president's executive order originally said TikTok would be banned if it weren't sold by November 12 but negotiations about the sale slowed down during the presidential election and an extension was ultimately granted.

The administration had already held off on enforcing a ban on TikTok following two court rulings in the app's favor. In October, a federal judge granted an injunction temporarily blocking the enforcement of Trump's executive order. An earlier court ruling prevented the administration from stopping further downloads of TikTok.

The president is due to leave office on January 20, 2021 and it remains to be seen if the app will be successfully sold by that time. If there are further delays in negotiations, the app's fate could end up being decided by former Vice President Joe Biden sometime next year. His view on the issue is not clear.

Trump had agreed in principle to a plan which would see the creation of TikTok Global. This would be controlled by a number of U.S. companies, including Walmart, Oracle and several venture capital firms. Under the plan, ByteDance would keep a minority share of the new entity but it appears the president will not approve any plan that allows Chinese ownership.

The administration called ByteDance a "mouthpiece" for the Chinese Communist Party earlier this year and claimed the company was "committed to promoting the CCP's agenda and messaging." ByteDance has strongly denied these claims.

TikTok Building in Culver City, California
General view of the TikTok building, in Culver City, California on November 17. The app will continue to operate in the U.S. for the time being. VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images