President Donald Trump has given TikTok life support for at least one more month. The president announced in a meeting Monday afternoon he was allowing Microsoft to continue acquisition talks with ByteDance until September before banning TikTok due to security concerns his administration has with the Chinese-owned app. Trump suggests September 15th is the deadline for Microsoft to acquire the United States-facing portion of the company for it to continue having a place in American cell phones.
"It can't be controlled for security reasons by China," Trump said during the meeting with members of his cabinet on Monday. "A Very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we're making it possible for this deal to happen."
TikTok operators insist they operate freely of ByteDance, their corporate parent based in China. The company is currently headed by former Disney executive Kevin Mayer.
Trump says TikTok will close in the United States on Sept 15 unless Microsoft buys it. He says he’s fine with Microsoft buying it. pic.twitter.com/rwfZjVP27R— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) August 3, 2020
Concerns popped up over the weekend as the president hinted he might ban the application as soon as Saturday, leaving experts scurrying to determine whether or not he actually had the power to implement such a drastic measure. At the time, Microsoft paused acquisition talks in fear the product would no longer be available in the United States. The tech giant has since confirmed those talks have since restarted.
"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," Microsoft chief Satya Nadella said in a statement late Sunday night. "During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President."
For the first time since a ban was considered, TikTok general manager Vanessa Poppas released a statement saying the company was happy to continue providing jobs to thousands of Americans.
"I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok everyday. Bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives. We've heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you, and we're not planning on going anywhere," Pappas explained. "TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, create ideas, and connect with individuals across different backgrounds. We are so proud of the various communities that call TikTok their home. I'm also proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees that work on this app every day. The additional 10,000 jobs that we're bringing into this country over the next three years."
Cover photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images