Microsoft in talks to purchase TikTok: report
Microsoft is in talks to purchase popular social media platform TikTok from Beijing-based company ByteDance, The New York Times reported Friday.
The news came the same day reports emerged that President Trump is considering signing an executive order requiring ByteDance to divest the U.S. portion of TikTok due to concerns that the company may be giving sensitive U.S. data collected through the app to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The New York Times cited an anonymous source who said the purchase could come later in the day Friday. Microsoft did not respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the potential purchase.
A spokesperson for TikTok told The Hill that “while we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.”
“Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform,” the spokesperson added. “We’re motivated by their passion and creativity, and committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
FOX Business first reported on these discussions.
TikTok has continuously pushed back against claims that it censors content and shares data with the CCP, and has taken steps to distance itself from China, including hiring former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to serve as CEO earlier this year, and moving American data storage to the United States.
The Trump administration and bipartisan members of Congress have turned the spotlight on TikTok in recent months, with Trump telling reporters Friday that he was considering a ban on TikTok along with “a lot of alternatives.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made similar comments earlier this month, announcing that the Trump administration was considering banning Chinese apps, including TikTok, due to national security concerns.
The Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opened an investigation into ByteDance last year, while the House approved legislation last week banning the use of TikTok on federal devices.
Senators have also asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into TikTok, and have separately raised concerns the app could be used by the CCP to interfere in U.S. elections.
Updated August 1, 2:38 p.m.