On February 11, 2021, the Courts of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit and the D.C. Circuit separately granted the Biden administration's motions to hold in abeyance the government's appeals of lower court injunctions of President Donald Trump's August 6, 2020 Executive Orders (available here and here). Those Orders directed the Commerce Department to identify transactions involving WeChat and TikTok, respectively, to be prohibited on national security grounds.
In mid-September, the Secretary of Commerce identified various transactions, including any distributions of the WeChat and TikTok mobile apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play. In its filings, the Biden administration stated that the abeyances were necessary so that it could "conduct an evaluation of the underlying record justifying those prohibitions" and determine whether the "national security threat" described in the August 6, 2020 Executive Orders continues to "warrant the identified prohibitions."
President Trump issued an Executive Order directing ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese-owned parent company of social networking application TikTok, to divest its U.S. assets within 90 days.
President Trump's threatened Executive Order "banning" social media application TikTok prompted Microsoft to announce that it would "continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States."
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