The Chinese company ByteDance has agreed to completely divest its TikTok app business in the US. This was reported in an exclusive publication by Reuters, citing “two people familiar with this issue.”
As we reported earlier, President Donald Trump scared yesterday into signing a decree banning TikTok in the United States. It looks like the TikTok owner couldn’t stand the pressure.
Earlier, U.S. officials said TikTok poses a national security risk due to access to Americans’ personal data. According to the source, ByteDance’s agreement to withdraw from the U.S. will show whether Trump’s threat was a reflection of an intention to crack down on the app or a tactic in negotiations to buy it. Note that TikTok rivals the popularity of social networks that appeared earlier, attracting 100 million monthly active users in the United States.
ByteDance had hoped to retain a minority stake in the US TikTok business, but the White House rejected this condition. According to the deal, ByteDance will completely withdraw from its participation, and the entire TikTok business in the United States will go to Microsoft. That said, some United States-based ByteDance investors may be given the opportunity to acquire stakes in the business.
The source clarifies that Microsoft will be responsible for protecting all TikTok user data in the United States, and another American company may become the owner of TikTok in the United States.
“The administration has very serious national security concerns about TikTok. We continue to assess future policies”, the White House said in a statement. Whether Trump will accept the ByteDance concession, the statement did not say.