Trump Spent His Weekend Threatening to Ban TikTok

Trump wants to sign an executive order to ban TikTok nationwide as pressure builds for its Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell, according to Reuters. On Friday, he stated his intentions to sign an executive order to ban the app on Saturday, which increased pressure to sell. Washington-based Microsoft Corporation is one of TikTok’s likely buyers.

“[Microsoft] is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the company said, according to CNN. “During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”

Microsoft officials say they plan to “move quickly” on the deal. As part of the agreement with Microsoft, the company would own and operate TikTok in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

The U.S. Treasury Department chairs the government panel that has been reviewing ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok. Federal officials have reservations about the safety of personal data that TikTok has; however, this has been disproven by cybersecurity analysts. TikTok officials say its user data for Americans is already stored on U.S.-based servers. As a result, they say it is not subject to Chinese law, which federal officials have been leaning on as reasoning. It’s also not clear what authority Trump would even have to ban the app in the first place, nor is it clear how a ban would be implemented and enforced.

Microsoft officials say they would ensure all data belonging to American users would be transferred to the U.S. TikTok currently has up to 80 million active users a month in the U.S.

Microsoft could reportedly face fewer regulatory hurdles in its acquisition of TikTok than other potential competitors, such as Google. Officials at Microsoft say they plan to complete talks with ByteDance no later than September 15.