Microsoft has confirmed on Sunday that it is in talk with Chinese company ByteDance to acquire the US arm of its popular video app TikTok and is in a process off discussions with President Donald Trump about his concerns regarding security and censorship of the app which is surrounding such an acquisition.
Microsoft and ByteDance have provided notice of intent to explore the deal between the two companies which may result in Microsoft owning operations of TikTok in US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The talks are expected to be concluded by September 15. .
Trump had earlier said that he would soon ban TikTok in US, but situation seemed to have changed after Trump and CEO Satya Nadella have spoken on the issue.
“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,” the Microsoft statement said.
The White House did not immediately comment on the Microsoft statement.
TikTok’s US user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access, and its biggest investors come from the U.S., the company said earlier Sunday. “We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
A federal committee has been reviewing whether Trump could ban TikTok in the US Its members agree that TikTok cannot remain in the US in its current form because it “risks sending back information on 100 million Americans,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
“We all agree there has to be a change … everybody agrees it can’t exist as it does,” Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
As speculation grew over a ban or sale of the social media platform’s US business, TikTok posted a video on Saturday saying, “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”
TikTok’s catchy videos and ease of use has made it popular, and it says it has tens of millions of users in the US and hundreds of millions globally. Its parent company, Bytedance Ltd., launched TikTok in 2017. It bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the US and Europe, and combined the two. It has a similar service, Douyin, for users in China.
TikTok says it does not censor videos and it would not give the Chinese government access to US user data.
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