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Deadline looms for TikTok and ByteDance to end operations in the US

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TikTok say that have not had enough time to complete a deal with potential US partners.
TikTok say that have not had enough time to complete a deal with potential US partners.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File
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The deadline is looming for the popular video-sharing platform TikTok, and owning company ByteDance, to end operations in the United States.

President Donald Trump's administration has said it was working on a solution to the Chinese company's application case.

Trump signed a presidential decree on August 14, which obliged ByteDance to sell TikTok's US operations within 90 days.

The White House has for months without proof accused the platform of siphoning off US user data in a threat to "national security".

TikTok has denied the allegations, saying that its data centers are located entirely outside of China and that none of that data is subject to Chinese law.

On Tuesday, TikTok had filed a court petition in Washington to prevent President Trump's 90-day decree deadline taking effect on Thursday.

The social media platform asked for a 30-day delay, complaining that it has not received any feedback in discussions with the US government.

"We are constantly facing new requests and we have no visibility on the possibility that our proposed solutions will be accepted", TikTok explained in a blog post.

ByteDance and TikTok had been negotiating to create a new company involving the IT group Oracle as a technology partner and the retail giant Walmart as a business partner.

The project seemed to gain approval from Donald Trump, but the platform is still waiting for the green light.

"We have offered detailed solutions to finalise that agreement, but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework," said TikTok.

The company says they actively engaged in good faith with the CFIUS, the agency responsible for ensuring that foreign investment does not pose a risk to US national security.

"[It is] nearly two months since the president gave his preliminary agreement to our proposal to satisfy those concerns," TikTok stated on Tuesday.

"We have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the US."

"Our legal challenge today is a protection to ensure these discussions can take place".

On Wednesday, the US Treasury responded that it remained "focused on reaching a resolution of the national security risks arising from ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly, in accordance with the August 14 order signed by the President".

"We have been clear with ByteDance regarding the steps necessary to achieve that resolution," it said in a statement.

The Treasury added that questions on the pending litigation should be referred to the US Department of Justice.

ByteDance purchased the application Musical.ly, which was already present in the US, three years ago, and merged it with TikTok.

The United States represents an enormous market for TikTok with around 100 million users.

The app was also subject to an August 6 decree, which also threatened to ban it by November 12, for the same reasons but under different terms.

But on 30 October, a Pennsylvania judge ordered the US administration not to prevent other companies from providing essential services to the platform, such as online hosting.

The US Department of Justice had appealed this decision.

While TikTok has openly disagreed with the US concerns, the company says it remains committed to working with Trump's administration to resolve issues.

"We continue working tirelessly to make TikTok a safe and inclusive platform, and are committed to serving our amazing, diverse, and creative community for years to come."