Microsoft is currently in talks buy the U.S. operations of hit video app TikTok, according to The New York Times.
According to pool reports, Trump told reporters, “We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok.”
Microsoft did not immediately respond to request made by Digital Trends. We will update this story when we hear back.
In a statement to Digital Trends, TikTok declined to comment on “rumors or speculation.”
“We are confident in the long-term success of TikTok,” a TikTok spokesperson said. “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.”
Fox Business Network’s Charles Gasparino reported that the White House is “deeply concerned” about the purchase, specifically whether if any Chinese investors will hold a remaining stake.
The Trump administration has long been critical of TikTok, and in July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to ban the app in America over national security risks.
Trump’s stance against TikTok aligns with his goal to rid the U.S. of Chinese technology companies, which he believes are using tech to spy on Americans via data collection. The U.S. is not the only country to express reservations about TikTok; India banned the app over similar concerns.
Experts have said TikTok’s policy on data collection is very similar to U.S.-run companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The concerns over security and its relationship to the Chinese government, however, has not stopped TikTok from growing in popularity among younger generations. The app has been downloaded 2 billion times globally — 165 million times in the U.S., according to SensorTower.
Before Friday’s announcement, TikTok had reportedly already been in talks with investors about how to spin off a version of the app in the U.S. and the possibility of another tech company acquiring it. TikTok is valued between $50 billion and $100 billion.
Microsoft’s business model is fairly different than TikTok’s, and its only other social media platform is LinkedIn, which connects working professionals. The announcement also comes on the heels of the House Judiciary’s Big Tech antitrust hearing, where lawmakers argued U.S. tech companies have monopolized the industry by stifling competition through acquisitions.
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