This TikTok US Ban summary and timeline was prepared by Joshua Lowcock, drawing on public information. This includes updates from the weekend of September 19th and 20th, where the Whitehouse gave preliminary approval of a proposed TikTok deal.
TIKTOK US BAN TIMELINE (9/20)
- if you’re wondering how we got here, it all comes from an August US Presidential Executive Order that sought to ban TikTok (and separately, WeChat).
- fast forward a few weeks and the sale of TikTok’s US business looked like it was making progress.
- Oracle confirmed it was the successful party with a Bytedance/TikTok in a very briefly worded statement.
- Microsoft issued a statement that it had not been successful. Meanwhile, Walmart, who had partnered with Microsoft, didn’t give up hope.
- reports surfaced that Walmart still wanted in on a TikTok deal and would partner with Oracle.
- any TikTok deal would still subject to US Treasury Department approval, and the parties were working through revisions to deal terms.
- there was some objection to an Oracle-TikTok deal by Republicans, including Senator Josh Hawley (PDF link), who drafted a letter expressing concerns.
- various media outlets started writing about how an Oracle-TikTok deal might work, and there were reports that the deal would include a TikTok oversight board.
- everything took a surprise turn when it was announced the US Commerce Department would ban TikTok (and WeChat) from all AppStores come Sunday, Sept 20th.
- the US Commerce Department ban is in 2 parts. The first is an AppStore ban; the latter (come November 12th, post-election) is a “hosting” and “content delivery” ban that would effectively disable the app.
- in simple terms, this means users that have the app could continue to use it “as is” but there will be no app updates for the time being. As for the impact on brands, this AdAge article has some perspectives.
- TikTok issued a statement that it would challenge the ban calling it “unjust.”
- Adam Mosseri from Instagram said that the ban was bad news for Facebook and Instagram. Vanessa Pappas replied by inviting Facebook to join TikTok in a legal challenge to the ban.
- it was rumored that Instagram’s co-founder (Kevin Systrom) is being courted as a potential TikTok CEO (notable that he was on Walmart’s board from 2014-2018).
- Saturday afternoon, TikTok Comms tweeted an update reiterating that they would challenge the ban and underscoring that they would give US data security oversight of TikTok’s code.
- Saturday evening, President Trump announced that he had approved the deal. Oracle and Walmart were cited as US investors, and there would be a new entity, TikTok Global.
- Saturday evening, TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas shared a tweet announcing TikTok is here to stay.
- much later Saturday evening, the US Commerce Department announced the AppStore ban had been delayed until September 27th.
- Oracle announced that it would acquire 12.5% of TikTok and be the cloud infrastructure hosting provider; Walmart announced it would acquire 7.5% of TikTok.
- TikTok issue a press release outlining the proposed deal.
- Bytedance (TikTok’s parent) has stated China also needs to approve the deal.
And not to forget WeChat, which was also subject to an AppStore ban. WeChat won a preliminary injunction and will not be banned from the AppStore this Sunday (9/20)
TIKTOK BAN UPDATE (9/27)
As you may recall, a ruling was expected on the TikTok ban before the deadline at 11:59pm US ET on Sunday the 27th of September.
The judge ruled in TikTok’s favor. This means that TikTok will still be available in the app store.
Full details of the ruling here (PDF link).