USA general manager says TikTok 'here for the long run'

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 2, 2020

Why it matters: Trump Friday night said he plans to ban TikTok, as India has done, over concerns that the app could be sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government. The idea is that the Chinese government could compel the company to hand over user data.

Trump has not commented publicly on the TikTok ban today. "They're going to make it sound like, 'Oh, it can't hurt you.' This, that and the other thing. We are not an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) country", Trump said.

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Reuters reported Saturday that ByteDance agreed to divest its United States operations to avoid the app being banned, leaving Microsoft able to take over completely.

The Wall Street Journal said Microsoft had now paused talks despite TikTok owner ByteDance making last ditch efforts to win White House support. Even so, some ByteDance investors based in the United States may still have an opportunity to hold a minority stake in the divested company. TikTok's biggest investors come from the US.

If ByteDance has indeed made that concession, as indicated by Reuters' sources, the move will test whether Trump was bluffing.

Pappas ends by asserting that TikTok is "here for the long run", and calling for community support to "stand for TikTok".

Officials in Washington are concerned that TikTok may pose a security threat, fearing the company might share its user data with China's government.

"What's the right answer?"

There have been rumors that Microsoft were set to purchase TikTok and launch a spin-off, in order to prevent it from being banned entirely.

TikTok declined to discuss the possible Microsoft deal, but a spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday: "While we do not comment on rumours or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok".

TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

President Trump reportedly has a "deal on his desk" that would allow total American oversight of the video sharing app TikTok.

The proposed divestment would not necessarily affect TikTok's operations outside the United States, the Times report said.

The app features not only entertainment videos, but also debates, and it takes positions on political issues, such as racial justice and the coming US presidential election.

The company, with advertising supported businesses including its Bing search engine, MSN news service and LinkedIn business social network, disclosed this month that its search ads sales grew 1 per cent to $7.7 billion over the previous year.

"TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access".

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