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TikTok sale to Oracle, Walmart has been 'shelved indefinitely,' report says

The Biden administration is doing its own review of potential security risks from Chinese tech companies.

Tik Tok America

TikTok's future in the US remains fuzzy.

James Martin/CNET

A preliminary deal to sell TikTok's US operations to software company Oracle and retail giant Walmart has been "shelved indefinitely," according to a report Wednesday from The Wall Street Journal. The pause reportedly comes as the Biden administration undertakes its own review of potential security risks posed by Chinese tech companies' data collection.

"We plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing US data that addresses the full range of threats we face," National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told the Journal. "This includes the risk posed by Chinese apps and other software that operate in the US. In the coming months, we expect to review specific cases in light of a comprehensive understanding of the risks we face."

TikTok faced regulatory scrutiny from federal agencies throughout 2020. In September, then-Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross cracked down on the app in the wake of two executive orders by then-President Donald Trump. Citing Chinese government access to US user data, Trump's orders prohibited transactions with the Chinese-owned app and required TikTok's sale to a US company. In December, a federal judge ruled against the ban. 

"It's not accurate to suggest that there's a new proactive step by the Biden White House" related to TikTok, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a Wednesday briefing. She added that there's a "rigorous CFIUS process that is ongoing," referring to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews foreign acquisitions for potential national security risks. Psaki said the administration is evaluating the "risks to US data" from apps including TikTok, and that there's no timetable for the review. 

On Thursday, lawyers for TikTok filed a joint motion with the Biden administration, asking a US district court in DC to suspend the company's lawsuit against the government, which claimed Trump's ban on downloads of the app was unconstitutional.  

More recently, TikTok has faced scrutiny after a vulnerability left users' private information exposed in January. The security vulnerability, discovered by researchers at Check Point, was the second uncovered in a month. 

TikTok, Oracle and Walmart didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.