The straight answer is yes. But if a possible takeover of TikTok even is a done deal, the President may find another reason to take it down completely. Even since the inception of the app in the US market, it's been under the radar of the US government, now more than ever since China has been under Mr. Trump's radar for more than one reason.
The major issue here is that the Trump administration believes any Chinese-owned companies potentially pose a threat to national security since they can access those companies' systems under their own laws. And the app has been under scrutiny before for collecting information of users under 12 without parental consent.
ByteDance does have many non-Chinese investors, many of them American, as well. Photo Source: ByteDance
And the current government believes it's now more than that. Washington is afraid the Chinese government could access information about Americans who use TikTok through their local laws. The owner company, 'ByteDance', has denied there is any influence from Beijing, but it still remains under scrutiny.
'ByteDance' owns the app, but their administration in the US is effectively done by Americans in the American offices. But the ownership pops up the concern. And there are so many ways the government can go about to ban the app completely.
However, there are some limited ways 'ByteDance' could prevent losing American customers to the app, but they have to say goodbye to the ownership in one of the ways. And that's where Microsoft comes in.
There have been a lot of reports in the past few days, confirmed by the likes of The New York Times and Bloomberg, that Microsoft is exploring the acquisition of TikTok from 'ByteDance'.
Microsoft is one way TikTok could escape the ban. Photo Credit: Lucy Nicholson, Reuters
But the deal, if there is, is not about buying the app entirely worldwide. Only the TikTok administration in the US would be acquired by the American company; they have reportedly offered to do so. But where the talk with Microsoft is going is still to be known.
Despite there being other scenarios, the Trump administration seems dead set to use any law to remove TikTok from the US market and American app stores. There are a lot of holes, but the fate of millions of American users is yet to be determined.
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