- President Donald Trump plans to sign an order to instruct ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, "to sell its ownership of the app's US activities," Bloomberg said Friday.
- A Fox Business journalist also reported that Microsoft is interested in buying TikTok's US operations.
- It is unclear what power Trump has to order a foreign company to sell part of its business.
- Are you a TikTok employee with knowledge to share? Contact the reporter Paige Leskin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the encrypted messaging app Signal at 201-312-4526.
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President Donald Trump will instruct TikTok's Chinese parent company to sell the app's U.S. activities. Bloomberg reported on Friday.
Trump plans to sign an order instructing ByteDance to "sell its US ownership of TikTok," the report said. Earlier this month, the Trump administration said publicly for the first time that it was considering banning TikTok over concerns about its ties to China and the foreign government's access to user data and content moderation.
Bloomberg said an announcement about Trump's plan could be made on Friday.
Microsoft quickly emerged as a potential buyer of TikTok's US operations, as Fox Business Charles Gasparino first reported on twitter on Friday. Gasparino later reported that there are "two are three other serious buyers" in talks for the acquisition.
It is unclear whether Trump can force a foreign company like ByteDance to "separate" from TikTok's US operations. However, according to a law of 1988Trump has the power to block transactions by "individuals who trade in the United States in the United States" if he considers this to be a national security threat. Trump has used twice before this authority to block businesses where tech companies are from China and Singapore were ready to take over US-based companies.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for a comment. In a statement to Business Insider, a representative from TikTok said the company did not comment on "any rumors or speculation" and was "confident in TikTok's long-term success."
"Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok to chat and socialize, including our community of creators and artists who make a living from the platform," said TikTok in his statement. "We are motivated by their passion and creativity and are committed to protecting their privacy and security as we continue to bring families joy and meaningful careers to those who work on our platform."
It is unclear how TikTok or ByteDance will respond to an order, but Trump's move would escalate government attacks on TikTok and other Chinese technology companies.
Since TikTok came and found in the USA in 2018 an energetic and growing base of up to 80 million usersThere have been questions about the level of access and influence the Chinese government has over parent and user involvement in TikTok's user data and content moderation.
In late 2019, the U.S. Foreign Investment Committee launched a national security investigation into the takeover of Musical.ly by ByteDance in 2017, a popular short-form video editing app already popular in the U.S. that preceded TikTok's expansion into American users. CFIUS reviews the business of foreign companies with US companies for national security risks.
However, TikTok's China relations have garnered more attention in recent months as the president and officials have said they are considering banning the app. Trump said a ban was a way to punish China for its role in the coronavirus pandemic, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised concerns about national security.
As part of its effort to demonstrate its distance from China, TikTok appointed a new CEO in June: Kevin Mayer, a longtime Disney manager based at TikTok's U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles. The company also recently has set up a content advisory board To manage policy changes and establish a transparency center in its Los Angeles offices.
Given the ongoing uncertainty about TikTok's future, ByteDance executives and investors have reportedly been looking for ways to avoid an app ban in the U.S. One possibility that White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow mentioned earlier this month could be for TikTok to withdraw from China and act as an "independent American company".
Some ByteDance U.S. investors, including Sequoia Capital, have attempted to acquire a majority stake in the app. according to the information. The investor group valued TikTok, which has more than 2.3 billion downloads worldwide, at a whopping $ 50 billion.