WASHINGTON—The Commerce Department said Thursday it wouldn’t enforce its order that would have effectively forced the Chinese-owned TikTok video-sharing app to shut down, in the latest sign of trouble for the Trump administration’s efforts to turn it into a U.S. company.
The Commerce Department’s action delayed implementation of an order, set to take effect on Thursday, that would have barred companies from providing internet-hosting or content-delivery services to TikTok—moves that would effectively make it inoperable in the U.S.
The U.S. crackdown on Chinese social-media apps has been led by President Trump, and it is unclear how President-elect Joe Biden will address the situation. Many members of Congress in both parties, however, have sounded alarms about potential Chinese data-gathering and surveillance in the U.S.
The outcome has important implications for U.S.-Chinese relations, as well as the future shape of the global internet, as other countries wrestle with how to incorporate Chinese technology companies.
In announcing its decision, the Commerce Department cited a preliminary injunction against the shutdown last month by U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Philadelphia in a suit brought by three TikTok stars, comedian Douglas Marland, fashion guru Cosette Rinab and musician Alex Chambers.