TikTok hopes three-party agreement between ByteDance, Oracle, Walmart to resolve U.S. concerns

2020-09-20 11:59:11Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Video-sharing social networking platform TikTok on Saturday voiced hope that an agreement reached by its Chinese parent company ByteDance with Oracle and Walmart will "resolve the security concerns of the U.S. administration and settle questions around TikTok's future in the U.S."

The Los Angeles-based company issued a statement Saturday afternoon, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had approved a deal between the three parties.

TikTok disclosed some details about the three-party agreement handed over to the authority Monday and weighed by the White House so far, saying Oracle will become its "trusted technology provider," and Walmart will play a role in "commercial partnership."

As part of this proposal, Oracle would be in charge of hosting TikTok's all U.S. user data and securing associated computer systems to "ensure U.S. national security requirements are fully satisfied," the statement noted.

According to the company, as of June, the total number of TikTok's monthly active users in the country soared to 91,937,040, and based on quarterly usage, 100 million Americans used the app.

The statement also said both American companies will take part in TikTok's global pre-IPO financing round in which they can take up to 20 percent cumulative stake in the company. A business insider familiar with the deal told Xinhua that TikTok had a plan to finish IPO in the U.S. market in one year if possible.

"We will also maintain and expand TikTok Global headquarters in the U.S., while bringing 25,000 jobs across the country," the company promised, adding "Our team works tirelessly to provide a safe and inclusive platform and we're thrilled that we will be able to continue serving our amazingly diverse and creative community."

Trump and some U.S. politicians have repeatedly speculated that TikTok poses a national security threat to the country, though no evidence has been provided to support the allegations.

On Aug. 6, Trump issued an executive order banning U.S. transactions with ByteDance, citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The ban will take effect on Sept. 20.

On Aug. 14, he signed a second executive order that will force ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business within 90 days.

TikTok has sued the U.S. administration to block the order issued on Aug. 6, arguing it is unconstitutional. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce were listed as defendants in the 39-page indictment.

The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that according to the order on Aug. 6, as of Sunday, any moves to distribute or maintain TikTok on app stores such as Apple Store and Google Play will be prohibited, and a more extensive ban against the app would be applied from Nov. 12. TikTok replied on Friday that it felt disappointed with the decision.

After Trump's remarks earlier in the day, the department posted a statement on its official website Saturday afternoon to postpone the ban against the popular app.

"In light of recent positive developments, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, at the direction of President Trump, will delay the prohibition of identified transactions pursuant to Executive Order 13942, related to the TikTok mobile application that would have been effective on Sunday, September 20, 2020, until September 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m," said the U.S. Commerce Department.

U.S. users rushed to download the popular app. TikTok downloads rose 12 percent to 247,000 in the US on Friday compared to the previous day, according to preliminary estimates from Sensor Tower, which tracks mobile apps.

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Saturday that it is resolutely opposed to the U.S. move to block downloads of WeChat and TikTok apps, urging the United States to immediately stop bullying and safeguard international rules and order.

In the absence of any evidence, the United States has repeatedly used state power to suppress the two enterprises for unwarranted reasons, which seriously disrupted their normal business activities, undermined the confidence of international investors in the U.S. investment environment, and damaged the normal global economic and trade order, the MOC said in a statement.

Users showed their strong support for the platform as well. Cosette Rinab, a 21-year-old TikTok star, and two other creators, said Friday night that they had filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's ban on the app.

"This journey is not over, I am excited to announce myself, @dougmar_, and @imalechambers have filed a lawsuit challenging the President's decision to ban TikTok and take away our voices and rights to reach our audience. I am proud to be part of the TikTok Creator Community, and we do not give up a fight!" Her Instagram page read.

TikTok, for its part, hopes users continue enjoying their lives on the platform featuring user-made videos of three to 60 seconds.

"We're delighted that the individuals who've turned their creativity on TikTok into thriving careers, the small businesses using TikTok to connect with customers during the pandemic, and the families who've found joy and connection through our platform will be able to use TikTok for many years to come," the company said in the statement.


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