TikTok deal with Oracle and Walmart gets Trump’s approval, judge blocks WeChat ban

TikTok has successfully skirted an App Store ban in the United States, with President Trump giving preliminary approval to a deal involving Walmart and Oracle late on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, a US judge issued a ruling early on Sunday morning to block the Commerce Department from forcing Apple and Google to remove WeChat from their respective app stores.

As Bloomberg reports, the preliminary TikTok deal approved by Trump will see Oracle take a 12.5% stake in the new TikTok Global company, while Walmart will buy 7.5% of the entity. Oracle will host all US data and focus on user privacy and security.

“Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale, and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud,” said Oracle CEO Safra Catz in a statement. “We are a 100% confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users.”

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg adds that Oracle will “get full access to review TikTok’s source code” to ensure that there are “no back doors used by the company’s Chinese parent to gather data or to spy on American users.”

TikTok said it’s working with Walmart on a commercial partnership and said that it will take part in a TikTok Global financing round along with Oracle before an initial public offering in which the investors can take as much as a 20% cumulative stake in the company.

Trump added that TikTok Global will be headquartered in Texas and employ “at least” 25,000 people. Finally, Trump claims that the deal will also include a $5 billion payment to the Treasury Department, which will be used to set up a new education fund focused on Trump’s goals of a “patriotic education” curriculum in the United States.

On the flip side, ByteDance wrote in a statement in Chinese on its Toutiao news aggregator app that this was the first it had heard of the $5 billion contribution. “We are also hearing for the first time about the $5 billion education fund from the news,” the statement said.

WeChat ban delay

The Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat was also slated to be removed from the App Store and Google Play Store as early as today over national security concerns. As reported by Reuters, however, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco has blocked the Commerce Department order.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco said in an order that WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor.”

Beeler’s preliminary injunction also blocked the Commerce order that would have barred other transactions with WeChat in the United States that could have degraded the site’s usability for current U.S. users. The U.S. Commerce Department did not immediately comment.

The Commerce Department had delayed the ban by a week following the aforementioned TikTok deal, but this order should mean that the ban is delayed indefinitely as the details play out in court.

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