TikTok is at the heart of a wild geopolitical dogfight which means Microsoft might buy it. Here’s what’s going on.

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News broke on Friday that ByteDance-owner TikTok is being pressured by the Trump administration to divest its US business, and Microsoft was in the running to buy it up.
Trump then said on Friday he was banning the app, possibly as soon as Saturday. The ban has yet to materialize.
Trump’s comments reportedly halted Microsoft’s acquisition talks, but on Sunday Microsoft announced it was resuming discussions with TikTok.
Here’s everything we know so far.

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TikTok has had a turbulent 72 hours.

The wildly popular short video app has become the subject of increasing criticism in the US due to the fact it is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, a fact which some officials and lawmakers including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say make it a national security threat.

As US-China relations have deteriorated over the course of 2019 and 2020, TikTok is under mounting scrutiny. 

On Friday this pressure erupted, with President Trump telling reporters he would ban the app imminently. His comments coincided with reports that ByteDance was in talks to sell off part of TikTok to interested investors — most prominently Microsoft.

Here is a timeline of what’s been going on with TikTok:
For context, TikTok is wildly popular and hit 2 billion downloads in April.

TikTok is outperforming Instagram in terms of downloads, and its short-form video clips regularly go viral on rival social networks.

TikTok has 200 million users in the US, but its Chinese roots have made US lawmakers uneasy.

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The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States in late 2019 contacted ByteDance expressing concerns that TikTok posed a threat to US citizens.

In December 2019, the US Army banned personnel from using TikTok. The Navy also told personnel not to install the app on government devices.

The US started signaling in early July that it might ban the TikTok app outright.

When asked by Fox News about a potential ban on July 6, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it.”

He added that US TikTok users should be wary of the app, saying their data could end up “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

In an interview broadcast the following day, Trump said he was considering banning the app.

When asked about Pompeo’s comments in an interview broadcast Tuesday, July 7, Trump said: “It’s something we’re looking at.”

Trump’s reasoning for potentially banning TikTok differed from Pompeo’s. Rather than citing national security concerns, Trump suggesting a TikTok ban could be deployed to punish China for the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful,” Trump said, adding that banning TikTok was “one of many” options he was considering as a way to punish China.

Amid these political rumblings, news emerged Friday that Microsoft might buy parts of TikTok.

The New York Times first reported TikTok was in talks to sell its US business to Microsoft and other US companies because Trump was considering …read more

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Source:: Business Insider


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