TikTok could stop working for tens of millions of users in a little over a month if the US arm of this immensely-popular Chinese social media app isn’t sold to Microsoft or another bidder, President Donald J. Trump has revealed. The 45th US President has set a deadline of Tuesday September 15, 2020 for a new TikTok acquisition deal to be done and dusted.
Last week, President Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or sign an executive order to ban TikTok across the United States. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, the President said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States”.
Amid this threat of a TikTok ban, rumours started to emerge that Microsoft was interested in acquiring the video-focused social network’s US operations from parent company ByteDance. This rumoured interest was later confirmed by the Windows 10 company. In a statement published over the weekend, Microsoft said it was exploring the possibility of acquiring TikTok’s US arm.
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The Redmond-based tech giant said: “Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States. Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. 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. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”
Microsoft also added that they were looking to purchase TikTok’s operations in other areas around the world. The statement added: “The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
“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. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.”
The threat to ban TikTok in the US comes amid claims the app could be being used to collect personal data from millions of American citizens. However, TikTok has denied any control or influence from the Chinese government and has insisted the apps behaves responsibly on Android and iOS devices.
Following comments from Trump that TikTok would face a ban in America Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s US general manager, said staff were building “the safest app”. She said: “We’re not planning on going anywhere”.
Ms Pappas also thanked the “millions of Americans” who use TikTok every day and said the firm had heard an “outpouring of support” for the app. Speaking about security concerns, Ms Pappas said: “When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app, because we know it’s the right thing to do. We’re here for the long run, continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.”
TikTok is estimated to have 80million monthly users in the US, with four out of the top five most followed accounts being based in America.
The most popular US TikTok personalities are Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, Zach King and Loren Gray who have tens of millions of followers each.