Donald Trump has approved Oracle Corp.'s bid to purchase the U.S. operations of TikTok. According to Bloomberg, the president told reporters on Saturday that he had approved of the deal "in concept", though no further details about what exactly that means was offered at the time. This comes just ahead of the ban on TikTok and WeChat's impending ban which is set to begin in on Sunday.
"I have given the deal my blessing," Trump said on Saturday. "I approved the deal in concept."
The new company formed by Oracle's purchase will be called TikTok Global and, according to Trump, will be headquartered in Texas where it will hire as many as 25,000 people and contribute $5 billion toward U.S. education.
Last week TikTok owner, ByteDance, declined Microsoft's bid to acquire the company, something that had been widely reported since the Chinese-owned app came under fire earlier this year. Oracle ended up winning the bid for TikTok's U.S. assets, with the tech giant swooping in to make the deal before the deadline Trump had previously placed on the sale of the popular video app.
Earlier this summer, Trump said that he would ban TikTok in the United States over potential national security risks, specifically over the question of data security. First launched by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance in 2017, TikTok first became available in the united states on August 2, 2018 following a merger with the short lip-sync video app Musical.ly. The TikTok app soon became popular in the United States, though last fall U.S. lawmakers began questioning how safe it and other Chinese-owned platforms are. At that time, Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton asked the U.S. intelligence community to assess the possible national security risks of TikTok, noting that the app (and others like it) could potentially be used to spy on American citizens or be in foreign influence campaigns.
While Trump's approval of Oracle's purchase of TikTok is likely to bring relief to users, it's worth noting that it's not yet a done deal. The Chinese government also has to sign off on the sale in order for it to go forward. It's unclear what Trump's approval for the deal means for the impending ban of new downloads of TikTok set to go into effect on Sunday. though it's reported that Beijing will sign off on the deal so long as ByteDance doens't have to transfer the artificial algorithms that are at the heart of TikTok's service.