Tech giant Microsoft has confirmed ongoing talks with ByteDance to acquire its popular social media app TikTok’s US operations.
TikTok is on the verge of being banned by the US government primarily due to suspicion that the company is likely to share user data to the Chinese government. This is a legitimate worry for the US government owing to TikTok’s rising popularity among its youth.
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, says the companies will be in discussions with ByteDance for the next few weeks, and excpect to complete them before September 15, 2020.
Microsoft and ByteDance issued a notification to the committee of foreign investment in the United States, containing a proposal for the purchase of TikTok’s service in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Should they come to an agreement, the American tech firm will own and operate all TikTok services in the listed regions. Microsoft may also invite other US-based investors to participate in the venture at minor levels.
Microsoft plans to boost the app’s security and to improve users’ privacy and safety while on the platform. In addition to this, the US government can rest assured that American users’ data will remain in the US. Microsoft also promises users more transparency and appropriate security oversight by governments.
While discussions are still in the early stages and the sale is not a certainty at the moment, the sale of TikTok could further stoke the tension between China and the United States. The two countries have imposed economic sanctions and close consulates in a number of cities.
US President Trump, gave the nod to Microsoft to go ahead with the acquisition before September 15. This is the date upon which the President is set to ban TikTok from operating in America unless it is purchased by Microsoft or any other company.
The Trump administration alleges that TikTok of providing data to the Chinese authorities. The US Department of Defense has even publicly warned people against using TikTok, and disallows people from installing the app on government issue devices.
China on the other hand, is not elated about the prospects of losing one of its most successful firms, saying it “will not accept the theft” of one of its biggest tech companies.
TikTok is the second company to be flagged by the US government over security concerns after Chinese tech firm, Huawei.
So far TikTok is has amassed 2 billion downloads globally and over 165 million downloads in the United States.
The app has become popular lately by users across all age groups, as people are spending an increasingly longer time online due to the lock down.
Facebook, is fully aware of this rise and has launched its very own short video sharing platform dubbed “Reels”.