The looming and questionably possible TikTok ban seems to have been averted, with TikTok having shared the broad strokes of a pending deal on Twitter.
The social network’s PR account released a statement running through the top-level details on Saturday night. “We are pleased that the proposal by TikTok, 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 statement begins.
Oracle chimed in shortly after to share TikTok’s statement and voice its own endorsement of the deal. “We look forward to working with you,” the tweet read.
If the deal goes through, Oracle will become TikTok’s “trusted technology provider” in the United States, meaning the company will host and keep secure all of TikTok’s user data on U.S. soil. The statement also notes that Oracle is working with Walmart “on a commercial partnership as well.”
The two companies will share a 20 percent stake in TikTok, and the social network will “maintain and expand” the headquarters of TikTok global somewhere in the U.S. (the company already has bi-coastal offices here).
In a corresponding move, the Commerce Department confirmed that it would push back an imminent ban on TikTok downloads and updates in the U.S. by one week. Without that intervention, the threatened ban would have gone into effect on Sunday, Sept. 20.
The effort to ban the platform originally arose out of Donald Trump’s insistence that TikTok, which is own by the Chinese firm ByteDance, represented a national security risk. Pressure for a deal to happen mounted in recent weeks as executive actions threatened an outright ban.
It’s true that a recent security law passed in China allows the government to access data belonging to Chinese companies. But TikTok, which isn’t even available in China, maintains that U.S. user data is stored in Virginia, with a backup kept in the sovereign city-state of Singapore. TikTok ceased operations in Hong Kong back in July, as a response to the Chinese security law.
Trump affirmed his support for the deal while speaking to reporters on Saturday night, saying that it has his “blessing” and adding that “if they get it done that’s OK too, if they don’t that’s fine too.” He also mentioned that the deal would also include Oracle and Walmart paying into a $5 billion education fund, but said nothing further on that.
Trump had previously touted his desire at a rally for the deal to include $5 billion for education “so we can educate people as to the real history of our country – the real history, not the fake history.” Trump has previously attacked the 1619 Project, a New York Times-authored school curriculum that reframes our understanding of U.S. history around the arrival of slaves in North America and the contributions of Black Americans.
Trump’s dislike of the 1619 Project and racist rhetoric in general was on full display in recent weeks when his administration moved to end government training programs that expose the truth of systemic racism to federal employees.