President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order ("EO") directing ByteDance Ltd. ("ByteDance"), the Chinese-owned parent company of social networking application TikTok, to divest its U.S. assets within 90 days. The EO cited "credible evidence" that ByteDance's operations may threaten U.S. national security. As previously covered here and here, President Trump had informed reporters that he intended to "ban" the U.S. availability of TikTok unless ByteDance found an acceptable buyer.
In addition to mandating the divestiture, the EO directs ByteDance to (i) inform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS") of the intended buyer of any of its U.S. assets, (ii) provide CFIUS with a certification that it has destroyed all data "obtained or derived from TikTok application or Musical.ly application users in the United States;" and (iii) certify to CFIUS, on a weekly basis, that it is in compliance with the EO. The EO also permits CFIUS to extend the deadline to divest by 30 days.
President Trump directed CFIUS to audit ByteDance for verification of its compliance, and to ensure that TikTok's operations are "carried out in such a manner as to ensure protection of the national security interests of the United States." As part of the audit, CFIUS is authorized to (i) examine and copy any documents belonging to ByteDance, (ii) audit any of ByteDance's information systems or technology, and (iii) interview any officers or employees of ByteDance. President Trump also authorized Attorney General William Barr to take any action necessary to enforce the EO.
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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