Donald Trump said today, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we ‘re banning them from the US.” However, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft, led by Indian-American Satya Nadella, is in advanced talks to acquire TikTok’s US operations. The deal might be worth billions.
Washington: Technology giant Microsoft is thinking in advance about the purchase of TikTok’s US operations, according to a media report on Friday, even as President Donald Trump said his administration is considering banning the Chinese video app.
“We ‘re looking at TikTok, maybe we’re banning TikTok,” President Trump told reporters at the White House. India has blocked as many as 106 Chinese apps, including TikTok, a move that both the government and the lawmakers support.
“We might be doing some other stuff. There are a few options, but a lot of things are going on, so we’ll see what happens, so we’re looking at a lot of alternatives to TikTok,” Donald Trump said in answer to a query.
The Wall Street Journal announced on Friday night that Microsoft, led by Satya Nadella, an Indian-American, is in advanced talks to acquire TikTok’s US operations. The contract may be worth billions of dollars.
“The agreement may be finalized by Monday, according to people who are familiar with the matter, and the negotiations include representatives from Microsoft, Bytedance and the White House. Negotiations are complex and the agreement does not come together,” the Wall Street Journal said.
Bytedance, based in China, is the parent company of TikTok.
In recent weeks, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused TikTok of gathering personal information from Americans. “India has blocked 106 Chinese devices, including TikTok, which violated the privacy and protection of its people,” he told members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House on Thursday.
News reports have said that the Trump administration would soon order ByteDance to divest itself of the control of TikTok’s US operations.
“In its current form, TikTok is a possible threat to personal privacy and our national security. I applaud the Trump administration for taking this important measure, but we must do more than simply eliminate ByteDance from the equation,” said Senator Marco Rubio.
“Going forward, we need to create a system of requirements that must be met before a high-risk, foreign-based app is allowed to function on American telecommunications networks and devices,” said Mr. Rubio, adding that he is drafting legislation to do just that.
Additionally, Senators Josh Hawley and Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers calling on the Department of Justice to launch an inquiry into Zoom and TikTok for alleged breaches of American civil liberties and their near links to the Chinese Communist Party ( CCP).
“Based on various sources, we are deeply worried that Zoom and TikTok have leaked private information about Americans to the PRC and have been blocked on behalf of the Chinese Government,” said the Senators.
“As tens of millions of Americans turn to Zoom and TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic, few realize that the privacy of their data and their freedom of speech are under threat as a result of the relationship between these companies and the Chinese government,” they wrote.
“Of particular concern, both Zoom and TikTok have tried to hide and divert from their substantive relations with China, keeping themselves up as American businesses. This cover-up is disturbing – Chinese tech firms are allegedly bound by oppressive surveillance rules, media controls, and extrajudicial pressures that require them to censor and spy on China’s state security services,” said the Senator.