Microsoft Might Be Buying TikTok?
Update 8/1: Donald Trump says he plans to sign an order banning TikTok "immediately," despite reports that a U.S.-owned company like Microsoft would buy the app away from its Chinese ownership.
The TikTok saga has reached its inevitable climax—but no, Trump isn’t banning the popular Gen-Z video app. Instead, Bloomberg reports that the president plans to order parent company ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing, to sell its ownership of the app to an American-based company as privacy concerns about Chinese data collection mount. In talks to take over? Microsoft.
For the past few weeks, the President and his administration have been hinting at a possible TikTok ban (Joe Biden’s campaign has ordered staffers to remove the app from their phones). TikTok does not appear to have access to any more data than apps like Facebook, but rising tensions between the U.S. and China have prompted increased scrutiny, and countries like India have already pulled the plug.
This order would instruct the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States to force the divestment, and while no clear U.S. buyer has publicly stepped forward to take the reigns, Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino says Microsoft is on the list.
That’s not exactly the first company that comes to mind when I think of 19-year-olds throwing it back on camera, but this would certainly allow Microsoft to rehabilitate it’s slightly stale image. Aside from things like Word and Excel, Microsoft’s current claims to fame include subsidiaries like Skype, LinkedIn, and Xbox Game Studios.
This move may also placate people like creator Griffin Johnson, who left TikTok entirely over, he says, security fears. (He has moved to copycat app Triller.) For the rest of TikTok’s users, this would mean they no longer have to grapple with the horror of a post-TikTok world, and can continue to accrue followers in the 10s of millions.
"While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok," a spokesperson for TikTok said in a statment. "Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform. We’re motivated by their passion and creativity, and committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform."
But the real question is: Does this mean Clippy is going to get a TikTok account?