• Imani Santos

Microsoft Might Be Able to Save TikTok

Last Friday, President Trump announced that he would make an executive order to ban the popular social media app TikTok saying, "As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States." The president didn't go into much detail about the actual course of action that would be followed to delete the app only saying that it was something he has the power to do, but many users became on edge when it was said that the app could be deleted by the following Saturday, taking to social media to say goodbye to the site, and linking its deletion to the embarrassment the turnout for Trump’s campaign in Tulsa was in June.

The main reason for the possible app deletion was because of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance being owned by a Chinese corporation; Trump fearing that the data it collects on its U.S. users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. TikTok has become the first Chinese social media platform to gain significant traction with users outside of its home country and currently has 800 million users active worldwide. Since the investigation has been launched, executives at TikTok claim that the app is not a national security threat. At the time of Trump’s initial statement, Microsoft was in the talks of possibly buying the app being one of the few U.S. companies with experience in managing big and complex platforms, but Trump said that TikTok would not be able to be bought by Microsoft from ByteDance. Microsoft not officially releasing a statement on whether that was true, but saying that “Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President's concerns.”

Since then, Microsoft has confirmed that they have been in the talks with ByteDance to possibly buy TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand with Trump allowing the two companies until September 15th to come up with a deal. Microsoft said in a statement that data collected from the app would be located in the U.S. and that data stored elsewhere would be deleted after it has been moved. “The operating model for the service would be built to ensure transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries.” Although Trump has said that he would much rather ban TikTok altogether, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has extended its deadline by 45 days to allow time for a compromise, making TikTok’s future look more hopeful.

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