Negotiations between Microsoft and Bytedance, the parent company of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, have stalled amidst President Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to ban the social media app from the United States.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft halted the negotiations process despite the willingness of Bytedance to reportedly try and sweeten the deal, which could have been finalized as soon as next week.
A White House spokesperson told the WSJ on Saturday that the Trump administration “has very serious national security concerns over TikTok. We continue to evaluate future policy.”
Late Friday evening, Trump told reporters that “as far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.” During the remarks, the president floated the possibility of using either an executive order or emergency economic powers to proceed.
According to Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs, the president also dismissed the idea of allowing a U.S. company to purchase the social media app, a statement that seems to have since made Microsoft wary of the deal-making process.
Trump brushed off idea of solving national security concerns with TikTok by letting a US-based company, such as Microsoft, buy it.
“Not the deal that you have been hearing about that they are going to buy and sell and this and that. Microsoft and another one.“
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) August 1, 2020
Vanessa Pappas, the U.S. general manager for TikTok, posted a thank-you video to people who use the video-sharing app on Saturday morning, and also expressed that the company was “not planning on going anywhere.”
A message to the TikTok community. pic.twitter.com/UD3TR2HfEf
— TikTok (@tiktok_us) August 1, 2020
While the president’s announcement on Friday brought TikTok to the center-stage of the political sphere, the app has long been a source of worry for government officials.
In October of last year, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked intelligence officials to conduct “an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms” operating inside of the United States.
The Department of Defense later advised personnel in several branches of the military to remove the app due to cyber security concerns, according to The New York Times.
In a recent July interview with Laura Ingrahm on Fox News, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States was exploring options, including a potential ban on TikTok, and added that only people who want their “private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party” should download the app.
In an email to The Washington Post, TikTok denied that government officials in any country have access to user data.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users,” said the spokesperson. “We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
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