🤷🏻‍♂️ The TikTok situation somehow just gets messier and messier 

The last time you received this newsletter TikTok and Oracle had agreed to a partnership that wasn’t quite a sale. It was unclear whether the deal would convince the White House not to ban the popular Chinese app. 

Days later, President Donald Trump said he would allow TikTok to remain in American app stores. But then he changed course. So what’s going on? 

Here’s a breakdown of the latest in one the wildest legal and tech sagas in a long time:

  • The partnership, Sept. 13: Oracle confirmed it would serve as technology partner for TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, ostensibly preventing the app from being banned by the U.S. Walmart was later added to the partnership, and it was believed Walmart and Oracle would have a 20% ownership stake in a new company called TikTok Global. 

  • The new ultimatum, Sept. 18: But that prospective deal apparently wasn’t enough for the White House. Last Friday, the Department of Commerce announced TikTok downloads would be banned Sept. 20. 

  • The change of heart, Sept. 19: Trump said he would approve the deal between Oracle and TikTok and delay the ban. He said, “The security will be 100%. They’ll be using separate clouds and very, very powerful security.” 

  • The change of heart Vol. 2, Sept. 21: Trump announced on Fox News that he would not approve the deal unless ByteDance was out of the picture. ByteDance said it would still have a controlling interest in TikTok Global, even though Walmart and Oracle had announced American companies would have majority control.   

  • The future: Um, your guess is as good as any at this point. But there will be lawsuits! Trump enacted a similar ban on the Chinese app WeChat, and a federal judge blocked his action, siding with WeChat users who had filed a First Amendment suit. On Friday, TikTok and ByteDance filed a First Amendment lawsuit of their own.