Microsoft confirms it’s looking at purchasing TikTok in the US and Australia

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 3 August 2020

Microsoft has confirmed it’s looking at acquiring TikTok operations in the US as the app faces a ban from President Donald Trump.

Last Friday Trump told reporters he was preparing to ban the video-sharing app within days after weeks of threatening to do so.

Trump, along with other politicians around the globe, has raised issues with the app for its Chinese ownership ByteDance, exposing it to influence from the Chinese government.

To avoid a ban, ByteDance has entered talks with Microsoft to purchase the app, which would include operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the company says in a blog.

“Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”

Microsoft has committed to storing US user data in the US but says its talks to purchase TikTok are preliminary.

TikTok is also facing scrutiny from the Australian government for its links to the Chinese government. Local representatives are set to face a senate hearing this month and respond to questions on the risk posed to Australia’s democracy by foreign interference through social media, with other platforms, including Facebook and Google, also set to attend hearings.

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