Popular social video app TikTok could be separating further from its parent company ByteDance to allow it to continue to be used in the U.S., according to a report by Reuters.
Chinese company ByteDance had been planning to sell off most of the U.S. business of TikTok but to keep a minority stake. However, the Trump administration recently ordered that the app be removed from Chinese control. President Trump has even threatened to ban the app within the U.S., although the details of the exact mechanisms he could use to do so have not been made clear.
Following the threat of a ban on the app in the U.S., it appears the company has changed its mind. Now, ByteDance reportedly intends to remove itself from the U.S. version of the app completely and has offered to hand over control to Microsoft. Microsoft would therefore be responsible for security and U.S. user data.
However, Microsoft has not yet confirmed whether it will take up this deal. The terms described by ByteDance do reportedly allow for another company to take over this role if Microsoft is not interested. Although even if this deal were to be put in place, the Trump administration may not reverse its position on banning the app.
In recent weeks, growing security concerns have been raised over whether data from the TikTok app could be viewed or held by the Chinese government, as ByteDance is a Chinese company and could be forced to turn over data under Chinese law. A number of companies have banned the use of TikTok on work devices as the app could be considered a security risk, and India recently banned a host of Chinese apps including TikTok, pulling them from the Google Play Store and iOS App Store in India.
In a video response to recent events, TikTok U.S. general manager Vanessa Pappas thanked users for their “outpouring of support” and said, ”We’re not planning on going anywhere.” She also mentioned the company plans to bring 10,000 jobs to the U.S. over the next three years.
We have reached out to TikTok for confirmation and comment but the company did not immediately respond.
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