President Trump approves Oracle/Walmart deal to keep TikTok available in the United States


President Trump has approved a deal to keep TikTok available in the United States, following a months-long battle between the popular app and White House officials who viewed the service as a national security risk, according to NPR. 

TikTok downloads were set to be banned in the U.S. starting at midnight Sunday, but that has now been averted. As part of the deal rescuing TikTok, U.S. tech company Oracle will partner with Walmart to form a new entity called TikTok Global which will be based in the United States. This arrangement satisfies the White House’s concerns over the security of American user data, although the Chinese tech company is expected to keep its majority ownership of the app. “I have given the deal my blessing,” the President said. “I approve the deal in concept.” 

Under the new arrangement, Oracle will host all of TikTok’s U.S. user data and will safeguard TikTok’s computer systems “to ensure U.S. national security requirements are fully satisfied,” TikTok said in a statement. “While we strongly disagree with the implications of TikTok as a national security threat, we nonetheless understand the concerns,” wrote Vanessa Pappas, interim head of TikTok, in a statement on Saturday. “We’re pleased that today we’ve confirmed a proposal that resolves the Administration’s security concerns and settles questions around TikTok’s future in the US.”

With the ties to ByteDance remaining, some experts in technology privacy are skeptical that the deal would meaningfully address the national security concerns that first launched Washington’s scrutiny of TikTok. “The interactions with the Chinese government, and the ability of the Chinese government to put pressure on the ByteDance company, is still substantial,” said Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer at Facebook. “It won’t be strange to have interaction between the two companies on a number of different issues, including algorithmic operations, so that could stretch into personal data pretty easily,” Kelly said in an interview. 


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