Negotiations for Microsoft to buy the U.S. operations of Chinese-owned TikTok are on hold after President Donald Trump threatened to ban the social media app and spoke out against the sale, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday .
Trump has pledged to be tough on the hugely popular video-sharing app, which U.S. officials say could be a tool for Chinese intelligence – a claim the company, owned by the Chinese internet giant , ByteDance, has repeatedly denied.
While there has not yet been any sign of the ban he threatened to impose on Friday, his comments have already added to the uncertainties for TikTok.
“Prior to Mr. Trump’s remarks, both sides believed that the broad lines of a deal could be in place by Monday,” the newspaper reported on a possible TikTok-Microsoft sale, citing anonymous sources.
He also said threats and Trump’s opposition to the deal prompted TikTok to make further concessions, including adding up to 10,000 jobs in the United States over the next three years.
TikTok defended itself on Saturday, with its chief executive for the United States, Vanessa Pappas, telling users the company was working hard to give them “the safest app,” amid U.S. concerns over the safety of users. data.
“We don’t plan to go anywhere,” Pappas said in a post on the app.
TikTok, especially popular with the younger audience who create and watch its short videos, has around one billion users worldwide.
It has grown even faster as the coronavirus pandemic has kept people physically apart from each other, but in close contact online.
Earlier media reports had suggested that Trump would demand that the app’s U.S. operations be ceded to ByteDance, but instead announced a ban.
Trump’s announcement drew criticism from some in the tech industry, including former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos, who questioned whether the move was motivated by national security concerns.
“A 100% sale to a US company would have been seen as a drastic fix two weeks ago and ultimately alleviate any reasonable data protection concerns,” he wrote on Twitter.
TikTokers used the apps’ signature short form videos to poke fun at Trump.
A clip that has been loved over 300,000 times shows a young woman stacking bricks and smearing orange paint all over her face, apparent digs on the president’s complexion and the controversial pledge to build a wall between the United States and the United States. Mexico.
“Me trying to convince Trump to let us keep TikTok,” reads the text on the post.
‘For the long term’
The US Civil Liberties Union has cried foul over the possibility of a ban on the app.
“Banning an app that millions of Americans use to communicate with each other is a threat to free speech and is technologically unworkable,” said Jennifer Granick, ACLU’s surveillance and cybersecurity advisor.
“With any Internet platform, we should be concerned about the risk of sensitive private data being funneled into abusive governments, including our own,” Granick said in a statement.
“But shutting down a platform, even if it were legally possible to do so, harms freedom of expression online and does nothing to address the larger problem of unwarranted government surveillance.”
Pappas said she was “proud” of TikTok’s 1,500 American employees, and also noted the “10,000 more jobs” the company plans to create in the United States over the next three years.
“When it comes to safety and security, we are developing the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
“So we appreciate the support. We’re here for the long haul, and continue to share your voice here and stand up for TikTok.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)