At a time when President Donald Trump has been considering taking actions to prohibit TikTok in the United States, Microsoft Corp. is in discussions to buy the American operations of the video app, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
Trump said to journalists, according to WSJ, “We’re looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok.” He continued, “We may be doing some other things, there are a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening.”
American government leaders have noted concerns that the app could send U.S. user-generated data from streaming media to the government of China, but the platform has indicated that it would not take that action.
Government leaders in the U.S. have also had worries that the technology could distribute propaganda and that those managing content on the platform could censor communications.
The app is renowned for lip-synching and dancing clips, and has seen dramatically more use in 2020 during COVID-19. Approximately 315 million users reportedly downloaded TikTok in Q1 2020.
News also surfaced on Thursday (July 30) that two Congressional legislators were seeking to have the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) look into TikTok as well as video technology company Zoom Video Communications Inc.
In addition, it was reported earlier in July that a group of U.S. tech investors was seeking control of TikTok. The investors were reportedly in discussions with the Treasury Department and other watchdogs to determine whether purchasing TikTok would assuage the White House’s concerns regarding the app.
The campaign to re-elect the president has reportedly used Facebook to request that individuals sign a petition to prohibit TikTok. In addition, Trump’s election campaign put ads on Facebook implying that TikTok was “spying” on American users, which the firm has denied.
Recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said those in the U.S. who download the app risk having their personal information get into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”