Friday, 07 August, 2020

Donald Trump says USA will ban Chinese-owned TikTok

Bloomberg Credit Bloomberg
Deanna Wagner | 01 August, 2020, 17:22

Trump as recently as March used executive powers to force a Chinese company to sell its stake in a US hotel software company, the Washington Post reported.

Earlier this week, President Trump said he was "looking at" taking action against TikTok; it was unclear if the president meant banning TikTok, in the same way India recently banned TikTok and several other Chinese apps.

TikTok has an estimated 65 million to 80 million users in the United States. "I can do it with an executive order or that", he said referring to emergency economic powers. He added, "It's going to be signed tomorrow".

Tik Tok's operations in the US have been under review by the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Two of the top-selling newspapers have claimed that Donald Trump wanted to order the sale of TikTok's U.S. operations by China-based ByteDance, citing sharing of data with Chinese intelligence as the reason. The latest software company to feel the hammer of the US will probably be TikTok.

Microsoft is now negotiating the purchase of TikTok's USA business, sources familiar with the matter told the New York Times.

"We're looking at TikTok".

The popularity of the platform surged after ByteDance acquired US-based app in 2017 and merged it with its own video service.

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Social media services, including Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's YouTube, have seen their sales growth continue during the pandemic as users spend more time entertaining themselves online - particularly with video - and advertisers follow them there. It said it has tens of millions of USA users.

United States officials and lawmakers in recent weeks have voiced fears of the wildly popular video platform being used by Beijing for nefarious purposes, but the company has denied any links to the Chinese government.

TikTok's fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular, and USA tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat.

The app's Chinese ownership has caused concern around the censorship of videos, and the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials.

The platform has hundreds of employees in the USA and recently hired Kevin Mayer, a former Disney executive, as chief executive, according to the Post.

Trump's move comes following a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States, which investigates deals affecting U.S. national security. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that the US was considering banning TikTok. The U.S. will not only ban hardware companies like Huawei, it will also prohibit Chinese software companies. Trump said he does not support a deal between ByteDance and Microsoft.

Under this new deal, Microsoft would be in charge of protecting U.S. -based users' data, and another USA -based company would be allowed to operate TikTok .

This week, TikTok was in the news for pulling a video critical of China's mass detention of Uighurs. Most of the popular Chinese-owned social media app's users are children and teens who share lip-syncing videos, dance crazes and comedy skits. Washington has been investigating potential national security risks due to the Chinese company's control of the app. The tech giant is in talks with TikTok's parent company ByteDance.