TikTok is here to stay — for the time being.
On Saturday, a federal judge granted an injunction that would allow TikTok to remain in U.S. app stores. The ban, which was supposed to take effect on Sunday at midnight, would have prohibited U.S. companies like Apple and Google from distributing the Chinese-owned app.
TikTok has found itself in the middle of a U.S. and Chinese debate over technology and the ability to collect and disseminate wide swaths of information. President Donald Trump has alleged that the app could potentially pass information on more than 120 million American users to China. Its algorithms could also theoretically be used by foreign governments to sway public opinion.
However, TikTok has strongly denied the Chinese government has ever asked for information on its users nor would it ever pass along the data if asked for it.
If you're confused by the saga, here's what happened and where we stand today:
August 6: Trump orders TikTok to be removed from the U.S.
Citing national security concerns, Trump decreed that TikTok and WeChat halt any transactions with any person or property that was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government within 45 days. He alleged that both apps were collecting American information and could pass it on to China, could be used to track Chinese citizens overseas, and could facilitate Chinese misinformation campaigns. The tentative deadline was set for September 20.
"The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People's Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," Trump wrote in a statement. "To protect our Nation, I took action to address the threat posed by one mobile application, TikTok."
TikTok was in talks with U.S. companies for a takeover at the time, with Microsoft in the lead. The company, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, strongly denied all national security allegations.
August 14: Trump loosens deadline
Trump updated his orders to allow TikTok to sell or spin off its U.S. businesses within 90 days or risk being fully banned from the country. The tentative deadline was set for November 12.
September 18: The U.S. Commerce Department Issues TikTok removal dates
To comply with Trump's orders, the U.S. Commerce Department said app stores would not be allowed to disseminate TikTok as of September 20. No one would be allowed to download the app, and the app stores could not issue updates. In addition, all U.S. transactions would have to cease starting on November 12. TikTok would be banned, barring a deal.
"Today's actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "At the President's direction, we have taken significant action to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations."
September 19: Oracle and Walmart Take Stake in TikTok Global
Just in time for the deadline, Oracle and Walmart announced they will buy 20 percent of a new parent company called TikTok Global. Oracle would take a 12.5 percent stake, while Walmart would buy 7.5 percent of the company. Because current ByteDance is 40 percent owned by U.S. venture capital firms, TikTok would become majority-owned by American companies.
U.S. user data would be migrated to Oracle's Generation 2 Cloud data centers.
TikTok Global would be headquartered in Texas, with four out of five American board members. It would also provide more than 25,000 new American jobs, as well as pay $5 billion in taxes to the U.S. Treasury. The company would also create a digital children's education initiative alongside Oracle, SIG, General Atlantic, Sequoia, Walmart, and Coatue.
Trump gave initial approval of this deal, allowing TikTok to stay in U.S. app stores ahead of the looming deadline.
September 20: ByteDance Clarifies the Record
ByteDance released a statement on Toutiao, a news platform it owns, explaining it will own 80 percent of TikTok Global. The $5 billion was a tax estimate based on TikTok's growth, and would not all go toward the education initiative which Trump had initially stated. It also pointed out the algorithm and technologies will remain with ByteDance, although Oracle has the ability to inspect the code.
September 21: Trump doubles down on no Chinese ownership
In an interview with Fox News, Trump reiterates he will not approve any TikTok deal if any part of the company is owned by a Chinese company.
To further complicate matters, Oracle executive vice president Ken Glueck issues a statement contradicting ByteDance's previous statement: "Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global."
September 27: Federal judge allows TikTok to stay… for now
District Court Judge Carl Nichols for the District of Columbia ordered an initial injunction in response to TikTok's lawsuit, arguing that the company should be allowed to stay in the U.S. In its arguments, TikTok said by blocking the app right before an election, the government was inhibiting people to express opinions, therefore violating freedom of speech. This allowed TikTok to stay in app stores ahead of the September 28 deadline.
The ruling did not cover the November 12 deadline for TikTok to be removed from the country, which still stands.