Tensions between TikTok and the US Government heat up, as ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) are forced to close opporations in the US or sell the app.
One month after India officially banned the Chinese-owned app over security and privacy concerns, the US are Government appeared to be on the verge of following suite, before Microsoft showed interest in the social media app.
Last Friday saw President Donald Trump commit to signing an order to ban TikTok in the US after showing no interest in ordering ByteDance to sell TikTok to a US company, saying “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.” “It’s going to be signed tomorrow.” This clearly hasn’t happened as of yet.
Microsoft have reportedly been in talks with TikTok to buy the app for quite some time now, with them confirming the rumours in a recent blog post.
“It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.
Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020.”
“The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets.”
“Among other measures, Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States. To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred.”Microsoft Corporate Blogs
This deal would be a great outcome for TikTok as they would be able to continue opporating in the United States. It would also give Microsoft immediate ownership of one of the most popular social media networks in the world. Ignoring LinkedIn, as this serves a very different user base, Microsoft does not own a social media platform, unlike many other big tech companies such as Facebook (parent to Instagram), Google (parent to YouTube), Twitter and Snapchat.
Trump has since changed his mind, supposedly after a series of calls. “I don’t mind if, whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else, a big company, a secure company, a very, very American company, buy it,” Trump said in a briefing yesterday. “We set a date — I set a date — of around September 15 at which point it’s gonna be out of business in the U.S., but if somebody, and whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else, buys it, that’ll be interesting.” A ban could hurt the President with young voters.
Promient TikTok users have ensured fans are following across other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, before a potential ban takes place. Most large creators have millions of followers on other social platforms and will continue their social influencer status. Smaller creators currently on TikTok may struggle to find an audience on different apps.