US President Donald Trump has vowed to follow through with his plan to ban TikTok if the company is unable to secure a deal with a United States-based company in 45 days. The service will be banned on September 15 if there is no sale.
TikTok developer and owner ByteDance is currently in talks with Microsoft to acquire ownership of its operations in the United States. ByteDance, which previously insisted on holding a minority stake in the company, was pressured to give up all ownership of its operations following Trump’s promise to ban the popular short-form video app.
On Sunday, Microsoft said CEO Satya Nadella spoke to Trump and “is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.” Both Microsoft and TikTok gave the US federal government notice of intent to explore the possible deal, which would provide Microsoft with ownership of the service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Trump, who previously dismissed the possible sale of TikTok to Microsoft, said he would not oppose it should the companies go through with it. He said that the US Treasury would have to get a lot of money out of any deal they ink.
Reuters reports that US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy issued statements supporting a Microsoft acquisition of TikTok.
Schumer said that an American company would have to own TikTok to ensure users’ data is protected, saying “a safe way must be found for TikTok to continue."
“A U.S. company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe,” Schumer said in a tweet. "This is about privacy. With TikTok in China, it's subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government,” he added.
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro urged caution and said Microsoft could divest its holdings in China if it buys TikTok.
“So the question is, is Microsoft going to be compromised?” said Navarro in a CNN interview. “Maybe Microsoft could divest its Chinese holdings?”