Microsoft is holding off on buying TikTok after President Trump talked about banning the app on Friday night. This news comes courtesy of a new Wall Street Journal report that indicates both the Xbox manufacturer and TikTok’s parent company Bytedance have cooled on their negotiations after Trump’s remarks sent social media into a frenzy yesterday evening. Some believed that the White House would have moved to ban the popular video app as soon as today. It remains to be seen if any further action will be taken. The President alleged that he would do away with the app via executive order, but nothing has happened yet. The outcry on social media became so loud that many users were calling for a revival of Vine in the wake of the newer app’s demise.
A White House spokesperson gave this statement Saturday, “The administration has very serious national security concerns over TikTok. We continue to evaluate future policy.”
Curiously, this all traces back to the administration's preference that the popular social media app would be “American owned.” Security concerns surrounding the app have prompted other countries to ban its use. Multiple members of the current political landscape have banned its use within their campaigns. It doesn’t seem like TikTok is going anywhere though, and there is still hope for a deal between the tech giant and Bytedance.
Yesterday, Trump said to a pool of White House reporters aboard Air Force One, “As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States. Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that.”
This all follows the FCC designating telecoms like Huawei and ZTE as threats to national security. Targeting companies like these is regarded as the precursor to the conversation we see raging around corporations like TikTok today. There is hand-wringing on both sides, and it is unclear if it will prove to be too big of an obstacle.
“With today’s Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America’s communications networks — and to our 5G future,” Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, said in a statement back in June. “Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services.”
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