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Donald Trump says TikTok will be banned from the US.

Chinese owner under pressure to sell

Trump says TikTok will be banned:

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will sign a decree banning TikTok in the U.S. as early as Saturday, which will increase pressure on the Chinese owner of the popular short video app to sell it.

The move would be the culmination of US national security concerns about the security of personal data processed by TikTok. It would be a severe blow to TikTok owner, Beijing-based ByteDance, who has become one of only a handful of truly global Chinese conglomerates thanks to the app’s commercial success.

Trump’s announcement followed hectic negotiations on Friday between the White House, ByteDance and potential buyers of TikTok, including Microsoft Corp. The talks are expected to continue in the coming days.

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While Microsoft already owns a professional social media network LinkedIn, it would face fewer regulatory hurdles in acquiring TikTok than its more direct competitors such as FaceBook Inc, one source said.

According to another source, ByteDance’s valuation expectations of more than $50 billion for TikTok and its insistence on retaining a minority stake in the app made deal talks difficult.

“Not the deal you heard they were going to buy and sell… and Microsoft and another. We’re not an M & A country,” Trump said.

It was not immediately clear what authority Trump had to ban TikTok, which has up to 80 million active monthly users in the U.S. It was also not clear how the ban would be enforced and what legal challenges it would face.

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ByteDance, Microsoft and the U.S. Treasury Department, chairman of the government panel that reviewed ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok, declined to comment.

“Although we are not commenting on rumors or speculation, we are confident that TikTok will be successful in the long term,” TikTok said in a statement.

As U.S.-China relations deteriorate in terms of trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy, cyber security and the spread of the novel corona virus, TikTok has emerged as a focal point in the dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Last week, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs unanimously passed a bill to prevent US federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued equipment. It will be voted on by the entire Senate. The House of Representatives has already voted for a similar measure.

ByteDance has considered a number of options for TikTok, under pressure from the U.S. to relinquish control of the app. This allows users to create short videos with special effects. This is very popular with US teenagers.

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Reference: Reuters

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