Microsoft says it is "ready to consider buying TikTok in the United States" after its CEO spoke to Donald Trump after threatening to ban the app.
The news comes after Trump told Air Force One on Friday that he would issue an order on Saturday to ban the US social media platform TikTok.
In recent months, U.S. officials have repeatedly said that TikTok, under its current Chinese parent company, Beijing-based software company ByteDance, poses a national risk due to the personal data it processes.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the president would shortly take action against Chinese software companies that send data directly to the Beijing government, putting US national security at risk.
"President Trump has said" enough "and we will fix it, so he will take action in the coming days to address a wide range of national security threats posed by software related to the Chinese Communist Party," said Pompeo said Sunday Morning Futures on Fox News Channel.
ByteDance had previously attempted to hold a minority stake in TikTok's US business, a proposal that the White House had rejected. As part of the new contract proposal, ByteDance would leave the company entirely and Microsoft Corp would acquire TikTok in the United States, sources said on Saturday.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pictured spoke to President Donald J. Trump
In a statement on Sunday, Microsoft said: & # 39; After a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is ready to continue the discussions to consider buying TikTok in the U.S.
& # 39; Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President's concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok as part of a full security review and to offer reasonable economic benefits to the United States, including the U.S. Treasury Department. & # 39;
TikTok's US General Manager, Vanessa Pappas, said on Saturday: “We don't plan to go anywhere. When it comes to security, we build the safest app because it's the right thing. & # 39;
"We are so proud of all the different communities that call TikTok at home," said Pappas, calling on the millions of users of the app to "stand up for TikTok".
Pappas said the app employs 15,000 people in America and plans to create another 10,000 jobs in the coming years.
"They are real privacy issues for the American people, and the United States has long said," Well, if we enjoy it or if a company can make money from it, we "I will allow it," said Pompeo on Sunday .
ByteDance agreed to sell TikTok's US operations to Microsoft to finalize a deal with the White House, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday.
The offer was supported by presidential allies, including Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
The Senator defended the president's decision on Saturday to take action against the popular video sharing app, which, according to official sources, poses a national security risk due to the personal data it processes.
However, Graham said he advocated an American company that would take over TikTok's US operations, rather than completely ban the app.
& # 39; To fans and users of # TikTok. I understand your concerns. However, President Trump rightly wants to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party does not own TikTok and, above all, all of your private information, ”the senator tweeted.
& # 39; what's the right answer? Let an American company like Microsoft TikTok take over. Win win. Keeps competition alive and data from the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. & # 39;
In a separate interview on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the United States Foreign Investment Committee, which is reviewing the effects of doing foreign business on national security, said the matter was being examined.
In recent months, U.S. officials have repeatedly said that TikTok, under its current Chinese parent company, Beijing-based software company ByteDance, poses a national risk due to the personal data it processes
The number of American users has been estimated at up to 80 million per month. However, since the company is not publicly traded, the estimate cannot be verified by external analysts.
The platform took the world by storm in 2017, allowing users to create original videos that are shared in the app so that millions can see them.
The move came after Joe Biden's presidential campaign banned employees from using the Chinese video sharing app, citing security and privacy concerns.
HOW DOES TIKTOK WORK?
- Users post videos of themselves and send them in the app
- Anyone can find these videos and post comments
- You can also notify this person privately
- Some of the most popular videos are viewed more than 10 million times
- Each TikTok video is usually 15 to 60 seconds long
- The videos are usually set to music and often show how the user dances, does a trick or synchronizes the lips
In a memo on Monday, Biden's General Counsel Dana Remus ordered employees to delete TikTok from both their personal and business phones and, according to Bloomberg, "not to download and use TikTok".
Earlier this week, TikTok pushed back the so-called "malicious attacks" that draw attention to the Chinese connections of the video app – a coded reference to the investigation.
Kevin Mayer, CEO of TikTok, said the attacks were "disguised as patriotism and designed to end our presence in the United States."
"We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and we have no agenda. Our only goal is to remain a vibrant, dynamic platform that everyone can enjoy," said Mayer.
"TikTok has become the newest target, but we're not the enemy."
As U.S.-China relations deteriorate in terms of trade, Hong Kong autonomy, cyber security, and the spread of the novel corona virus, TikTok has emerged as the focus of the dispute between the world's two largest economies.
Under pressure from the U.S. to give up control of the app, ByteDance has considered a number of options for TikTok that allow users to create short videos with special effects, and has become very popular among U.S. teenagers.
ByteDance acquired the Shanghai-based video app Musical.ly worth $ 1 billion in 2017 and restarted it the following year as TikTok.
ByteDance did not request approval for the takeover by the United States Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS), which reviews businesses for potential national security risks. Reuters reported last year that CFIUS had initiated an investigation into TikTok.
Earlier this year, Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd sold Grindr LLC, a popular gay dating app it bought in 2016, for $ 620 million after it was ordered for sale by CFIUS.
In 2018, CFIUS forced China's Ant Financial to cancel plans to buy MoneyGram International Inc because of concerns about the security of data that could identify U.S. citizens.
ByteDance was worth up to $ 140 billion earlier this year when one of its shareholders, Cheetah Mobile, sold a small stake in a private business, Reuters reported. The Japanese SoftBank Group Corp. is one of the start-up's investors.
The majority of ByteDance’s revenue comes from advertising apps related to its Chinese activities, including Douyin – a Chinese version of TikTok – and the news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao and the video streaming app Xigua and Pipixia, an app for jokes and humorous videos.
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