As President Donald Trump wrestles with the decision to ban the Chinese-owned video app TikTok in the US, an American company is considering taking steps to purchase the platform.
The New York Times reports that Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok, according to sources who note the deal could ‘alter the app’s ownership.’
The news comes as Trump is set to announce a verdict as soon as Friday that would mandate China’s ByteDance strip its ownership of the platform.
TikTok, which has some 800 million users around the globe, has raised concern among worldwide and US officials for its potential threat to security, along with claims that the Chinese government is using the technology to spy on citizens.
‘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.’
However, it seems Trumps plans may have hit a snag, as Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance for ownership.
Anonymous sources told The New York Times that the deal is in the works, but were unclear where the two firms stood.
However, Bloomberg reports that Trump plans to make a decision to order ByteDance to sell its ownership of TikTok in the US.
TikTok took the world by storm in 2017, which allows users to create original videos that are shared in the app for millions to see.
Currently 80 million Americans use the app, which has raised concerns among the government citing TikTok’s data collection of users that may be in the hands of Chinese officials.
Talks of banning the popular video app followed shortly after many users attempted to sabotage Trump’s June rally in Tulsa, Arizona.
TikTok users and K-pop fans said they had signed up for the Trump rally in Tulsa – which marked the US President’s return to the trail since campaigning was side-lined by the coronavirus crisis.
Trump’s campaign declared it had more than a million ticket requests, but in the hours before the event, crowds looked significantly lighter than expected at the 19,000-seat BOK Center. In the end, just 6,200 people attended.
Prominent Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the President’s campaign ‘just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign with fake ticket reservations’.