Microsoft is negotiating the purchase of the TikTok Chinese social network, according to sources from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The deal is being pushed forward and will cover US government employees. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the talks were “ongoing” and that an agreement could be reached on Monday.
Potential purchases of TikTok from Microsoft will have important political and economic consequences. For months, the United States has claimed that the Chinese government uses TikTok to collect sensitive user data in the United States. Also, US President Donald Trump has attacked the application, and specifically its users, due to the failure of one of the demonstrations, which was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20 and was held for the first time in several months. Trump accused the mobilization of thousands of teenagers in TikTok and other social networks from the poor public success of the rally (Trump’s theory, however, is very difficult to prove and may not be true).
Trump said on Friday he was considering what to do about TikTok: he added that a hypothesis that is being discussed is to prohibit access to the app in the United States, a decision that would make the social network and its owner lose the Chinese company ByteDance, a large pool of users. Trump’s tough stance towards TikTok appears to be part of a wider confrontation between China and the United States, which has worsened in recent weeks and which has led, among other things, to the closure of two consulates, one Chinese in the United States and one American in China.
The sale of TikTok to an American company would avert the hypothesis of banning the app: according to the Wall Street Journal, it would avoid any legal consequences for the federal government.