A plan to force the sale of TikTok to American investors has been put on hold as the administration of President Joe Biden reviews the security risks of the popular Chinese-owned video app, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The Journal, citing unnamed sources, said the Biden White House had indefinitely shelved the plan to require the sale of TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, to US tech giant Oracle with Walmart as a retail partner.
The plan by former president Donald Trump was driven by concerns that TikTok and other Chinese online services posed security risks because of their ties to the Beijing government.
The Journal said the new administration is in the midst of a review of data security and ways to prevent the information TikTok collects on American users from being accessed by the Chinese government, but that there would be no imminent move to force the sale.
The White House did not directly address the report, but spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “It’s not accurate to suggest that there is a new proactive step by the Biden White House.”
Psaki added that there is a “rigorous” review of data security of TikTok by an interagency government panel, with no timetable set.
“I will note broadly speaking that we are comprehensively evaluating the risks... to US data including from TikTok and will address them in a decisive and effective fashion,” she said.
A Trump administration move to ban downloads of TikTok had been stalled amid legal challenges.
TikTok, the wildly popular app with an estimated 100 million US users, has repeatedly defended itself against allegations of data transfers to the Chinese government, saying it stores user information on servers in the US and Singapore.
A tentative deal unveiled by the Trump administration would make Silicon Valley giant Oracle the technology partner for TikTok and a stakeholder in a new entity to be known as TikTok Global.