TikTok latest: Microsoft ‘in talks’ to buy Chinese app as Trump considers US ban

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As President Donald Trump contemplates banning TikTok in the US, American company Microsoft is considering taking steps to purchase the platform. The Chinese-owned video app could soon be banned from the US with Trump set to announce a verdict as soon as Friday that would require China’s ByteDance to end its ownership of the platform.

Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, according to sources who told the New York Times the deal could “alter the app’s ownership.”

The sources have said that the deal is in the works, but were unclear where the two firms stood.

TikTok has raised concern among worldwide and US officials over its potential national security threat.

There are also fears the Chinese government has been using the technology to spy on citizens.

The app has some 800 million users worldwide.

Currently 80 million Americans use the app, which has raised concerns among officials citing TikTok’s data collection that may end up in the hands of Chinese officials.

“We are looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok,” Trump told reporters at the White House Friday.

“We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”

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However, Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance for ownership.

Bloomberg reported that Trump plans to make a decision to order ByteDance to sell its ownership of TikTok in the US.

Talks of banning the app came in early July after Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced he was looking to block the Chinese-made social media giant along with almost 60 similar apps.

Mr Pompeo said the ban was a response to fears the Chinese app may be used by the Beijing government to deliver propaganda and to spy on users.


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Speaking to Laura Ingraham  on The Ingraham Angle on Fox News, Pompeo said he and Trump are taking reports of Beijing surveillance and propaganda through TikTok and other apps incredibly seriously.

He said: “We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it’s the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure — we’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out — we had declared ZTE a danger to American national security.”

He continued: “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too.”

Pompeo stressed that he did not want to get ahead of President Trump’s announcement and reveal any specifics on potential laws.

However, the secretary did add that banning the hugely popular app “is something we are looking at”.

He went on to warn American users of Chinese apps that they need to be careful, as they risk putting their private information “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party”.

TikTok reported an astonishing 37.2 million American users in 2019, with user growth predicted to surge year on year by 21.9 percent.

The huge growth of the app means that it is expected to hit 45.4 million USA users by 2020’s end.

In June, it was reported by Forbes that the app was caught spying on millions of iPhone users after previously being caught in April.

The controversial app has already been banned in India.

An Indians government spokesman said: “The apps are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

India’s Ministry of Information Technology said the nationwide ban added a response to “many complaints from various sources” about apps that were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner”.

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