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Microsoft, ByteDance pause TikTok negotiations as Trump supports ban over sale

Microsoft paused its ongoing negotiations with ByteDance to purchase the U.S. operations of TikTok, after President Donald Trump revealed that he would rather push through with banning the video-sharing app.

ByteDance was reportedly planning to remove itself from the U.S. version of TikTok, with Microsoft nearing a deal to take control and be responsible for security and user data. The negotiations started after Trump said that he plans to order the Chinese-owned ByteDance to sell its stake in the app.

However, Trump told reporters on Air Force One Friday that he preferred to ban TikTok, and that he would not support a sale, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Trump’s remarks forced Microsoft and ByteDance to pause the TikTok deal, the broad strokes of which would have been in place by Monday, according to the sources.

The companies were reportedly “caught off guard” by Trump’s comments, as the White House previously made it clear that the goal was for TikTok to be “American owned.” Reports indicate that the negotiations are not completely dead, but Microsoft and ByteDance are first trying to get clarity about the White House’s stance, and if there will be separate actions that would hamper the app’s U.S. operations even if a sale materializes, the sources said.

“While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok,” a TikTok spokesperson said in response to Digital Trends reaching out for confirmation of the paused negotiations.

“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform. We’re motivated by their passion and creativity, and committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”

In a previous statement to Digital Trends, a TikTok spokesperson said that the app helped create jobs across the U.S. and was committed to user privacy, amid allegations that it was a threat to national security.

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