The short form video app TikTok faces a potential ban in the United States, according to president Donald Trump.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said there are multiple options for dealing with a perceived threat from the Chinese-owned app, which has been criticised for lax data protection of its users.
“We’re looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things,” Trump said (via Guardian). “There are a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Previously it had been reported the US may seek to ensure TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell the app to a US-based owner. On the list of interested parties is reportedly none other than Microsoft.
Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino said Microsoft is already “in talks to buy” TikTok. Microsoft has not commented on the reports. Gasparino cited the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which could force TikTok into the sale.
The United States appears concerned that the Chinese company may hand over user data to its government. The company, which is now run by former Disney exec Kevin Mayer, has said it would not comply with any requests.
A spokesperson said: “While we do not comment on rumours or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok. 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.”
The app has been downloaded close to 200 million times in the United States. However, it has been banned by some US companies as well as the country’s military.