Author: Sam Buisman
President Trump holds off from banning TikTok to allow Microsoft to enter negotiations to buy the app from its Chinese parent company.
According to the Official Microsoft Blog, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella convinced the president to allow Microsoft to enter talks with ByteDance to buy the video-sharing app rather than banning it over data privacy concerns. ByteDance has indicated an interest in entering talks as well, under the looming threat of Trump using the executive branch to keep Americans off the app.
In its announcement, Microsoft acknowledged the president’s security concerns related to TikTok and promised to amend them if they were to acquire the app.
“This new structure would build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections,” reads the blog post.
TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas released a vague statement on Saturday mostly thanking American TikTok users for their support but also promising the app was here to stay.
“We’ve heard your outpouring of support, and we want to say thank you,” said Pappas. “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”
According to Vox, Trump administration officials have been floating a ban of TikTok since early July, concerned with the potential for censorship and access to American’s online data that the app gives the Chinese government.
While President Trump likely would not be able to outright ban the app, he would have the power through the Treasury Department to force a sale of the app to an American company or to block it from mobile app stores by mandating that U.S. companies cut ties with ByteDance.
Earlier last week, the Trump administration was telegraphing such an action before Microsoft stepped in.
According to Microsoft, the company set a deadline of Sept. 15 for completing its negotiations with ByteDance.