Microsoft has suspended negotiations for the purchase of the Chinese Tic-Tac application in the United States due to President Donald Trump, who has pledged to ban the app in the country.
US reports said there were doubts about the completion of the Microsoft acquisition of all activities of the Chinese-owned Tic-Tac app intended for publishing short videos, due to Trump’s warnings issued on Friday. The negotiation of the deal was already nearing its end between the two companies.
The US Wall Street Journal said that Microsoft had suspended the talks temporarily, although the owner of the application, a Chinese byte Dance Company, was making recent efforts to obtain White House support to continue in the United States.
These developments come in light of criticism of President Trump’s threats to ban implementation, as it amounts to an attack on freedom of expression.
The Chinese app for publishing short videos is very popular globally, and estimates are that there are half a billion active users of Tik Tok around the world, and in the United States there are about 80 million users, a large proportion of them in their teens or early twenties.
But some American politicians have expressed concern that the Chinese company that owns the application poses a threat to US national security and can use the app to collect Americans’ personal data. US regulators have raised safety concerns in the United States.
Trump had told reporters on board the presidential plane, late on Friday, that he was commenting on the Tik Tok application, and said, “We are working to ban it in the United States.”
After Trump’s remarks, a White House spokesman came out on Saturday to confirm that the US administration has “very serious concerns” regarding national security caused by Tik Tok.
The Wall Street Journal said that the Chinese company Byte Dance had made great concessions to the White House not to ban the application, including pledging to provide thousands of jobs in America within three years.
Microsoft, the US technology giant that also owns the LinkedIn app, will likely be able to Linkedin, From consolidating its position in the social media market controlled by other competitors, should it be able to complete the transaction and purchase Tik Tok operations in the United States.
The value of Tik Tok in America is between $ 15 billion and $ 30 billion.
The Financial Times said that some executives at the Chinese company believe that Trump’s intervention may be just a negotiating trick to help Microsoft secure a better deal and enhance its negotiating position.
Tik Tok declined to discuss its potential deal with Microsoft, but the spokesperson for the app said in a statement on Sunday: “While we don’t comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident of Tik Tok’s long-term success.”
The statement emphasized that the company is committed to protecting the privacy and safety of users.
The US move to ban Tik Tok comes at a time of heightened tensions between the Trump administration and the Chinese government on a number of issues, including trade disputes and Beijing’s handling of the emerging Corona pandemic crisis.
Some US tech workers criticized Trump’s announcement on Friday, including former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos, who doubted the announcement was driven by national security concerns.
Alex tweeted, “This is a strange situation. A complete American company access to the application would have been considered a radical solution two weeks ago, and in fact it would reduce accepted fears about data protection. And if the White House blocks this deal, we know that this decision is not related to national security.” .
Trump has also been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union. “Banning an application that millions of Americans use to communicate with each other is a threat to freedom of expression and is also technologically impractical,” said Jennifer Granic, cyber security and surveillance consultant at the Civil Liberties Union.
“Closing a single platform, even if this is legally possible, is detrimental to freedom of expression on the Internet and does not provide a solution to the larger problem of unjustified government surveillance,” she said in a statement.
In an attempt by Tik Tok to reassure American users, Vanessa Papas, the company’s general manager in the United States, said in a video message on Saturday, “We’re not going anywhere. We are staying here for the long term.”
“When it comes to safety and security, we are designing the most secure application because we know that it is the right thing to do. So we appreciate the support we receive.”