President Trump says he will ban TikTok in US

Credit
Bloomberg

On his way to Florida today, President Donald Trump told reporters, "We're looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok". Trump indicated that he might use an executive order or invoke emergency powers to effect the ban.

Trump teased the move earlier this week as he prepared to depart aboard Marine One, a scene that TikTok viral sensation Sarah Cooper immortalized with one of her trademark spoofs just hours before Trump declared he'd be banning the site. Trump also told the press pool that he is against a USA company buying TikTok's American operations, as Microsoft had reportedly been eyeing a purchase. The United States government has been investigating national security risks that may accrue because of Bytedance's ownership of TikTok, Bloomberg said. "But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok".

TikTok's global growth began when Beijing-based media and entertainment giant ByteDance bought Musical.ly, a Chinese company which had USA operations, in 2017, and merged it with its own app the following year.

Trump made clear he was not in favor of a deal to let a USA company buy TikTok's American operations.

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


"TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access", the statement continued to say. Microsoft declined to comment. Bytedance purchased Musical.ly Inc.in 2017 and merged it with TikTok. "TikTok's biggest investors come from the US".

TikTok has become wildly popular with millions of Americans in the last few years, especially teenagers, who use it to make short videos. The company has hired a US CEO and a former top Disney executive in an attempt to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.

The Trump administration has stepped in before to block or dissolve deals on national-security concerns, including stopping Singapore's Broadcom from its $117 billion bid for US chipmaker Qualcomm in 2018 in an effort to help retain USA leadership in the telecom space.

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 .

TikTok maintains it doesn't censor videos based on topics sensitive to China and that it would not give the Chinese government access to US user data even if asked. The U.S. will not only ban hardware companies like Huawei, it will also prohibit Chinese software companies. The app is run by the Beijing-based company ByteDance.

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