Microsoft to begin talks with ByteDance about buying TikTok


Microsoft has begun talks with ByteDance about the possibility of purchasing TikTok in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, just days after President Donald Trump levied the idea of banning the app from the United States (CNBC). ~

Microsoft stated that it intends to conclude talks by September 15th (The Washington Post). According to the Verge, purchasing TikTok would allow Microsoft to compete with Facebook and YouTube in the social media niche, and provide Microsoft access to user data from a younger generation which may not use other Microsoft products. ~

TikTok was the most downloaded app in Apple’s iOS App Store for Q1 2019 and has recorded over 1.5 billion downloads on the App Store and Google Play in the last 18 months (Oberlo).TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times around the world (The Washington Post). ~

TikTok has been under scrutiny lately due to National Security concerns from several countries, including the United State, as TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company based in Beijing, China (CNBC). Other countries around the world have similarly expressed security concerns, including India, who banned the app from the country all together earlier this year, and Australia, who is also noted to be considering banning the app due to alleged data harvesting and links to the Chinese government (Herald Sun). While the company claims that US data is not stored in China, some US officials have concerns that user data may be subject to China’s national security laws (CNN). According to Pompeo, US Government officials are concerned that user data has been or could be harvested by officials within the Chinese Communist Party, and would therefore be a national security concern. ~

The President has stated objections to the purchase, having previously planned to ban the app (The Washington Post); however, Microsoft has promised that US consumer data would be stored in the US, removing the security concern (The Verge). TikTok owner ByteDance would also prefer to keep TikTok, but only if it would still be usable in the United States (CNN). ~


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