Tag Archives: Tik Tok

[United States] Judge interrupts WeChat ban.

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A US judge on Sunday blocked the government’s ban on WeChat downloads, hours before it was due to take effect in an ongoing technology and espionage battle between Washington and Beijing.

The Trump administration had ordered the ban on downloads of video-sharing app TikTok as well as messaging platform WeChat, both owned by Chinese companies.

A California court ruling said it granted the “motion for a nationwide injunction against the implementation” of the government order, with the judge citing concerns over free speech.

The order against WeChat would have slowed it down and made it unusable in the United States for videochats with family and friends, according to experts.

Owned by technology giant TenCent, WeChat in the United States has around 19 million active daily users.

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he had approved a deal allowing Silicon Valley giant Oracle to become the data partner for hugely popular TikTok to avert a shutdown of that app.

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The deal, announced by the companies, includes Walmart as a commercial partner and would create a new US company named TikTok Global.

TikTok — owned by China’s ByteDance — confirmed the agreement, which came with companies racing against the Sunday deadline set by Trump’s administration.

The US Department of Commerce on Saturday announced it was postponing the ban on TikTok downloads until September 27, due to “recent positive developments.”

When announcing the ban on Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said China used the two apps “to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.”


#Newsworthy…

China blast United States over Tik Tok, WeChat ban.

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China warns of necessary measures to safeguard interests of its companies after US bans downloads of TikTok and WeChat.

China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok, and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app, WeChat.

Separately, Beijing also launched on Saturday a mechanism enabling it to restrict foreign entities that it deems a threat to its sovereignty and security, in a development seen as retaliation to US penalties against other Chinese companies such as telecom giant Huawei.

The latest Chinese moves come as tensions with the US escalate on a range of issues from trade and human rights to the battle for tech supremacy.

In a statement on Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce condemned Washington’s decision on Friday to ban TikTok and WeChat from US app stores, saying: “China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order.”

It then warned: “If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

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The US Department of Commerce announced the bans in response to a pair of executive orders signed in August by US President Donald Trump, in which he said the two Chinese-owned apps presented a threat to the country’s national security.

China and the companies, however, have denied US user data is collected for spying.

WeChat app would lose functionality in the US from Sunday onwards, while TikTok users will be banned from installing updates but could keep accessing the service through November 12.

WeChat developer Tencent Holdings called the order “unfortunate” and said it “will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the US ways to achieve a long-term solution”.

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The owners of TikTok, which has 100 million users in the US, said it will challenge “the unjust executive order”.

A picture of US President Donald Trump is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Tik Tok and WeChat logos [Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters]

‘Very, very popular’
Friday’s order follows weeks of deal-making over TikTok, with Trump pressuring ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations to a domestic company to satisfy Washington’s concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.

California tech giant Oracle recently struck a deal with TikTok along those lines, although details remain foggy.

Trump said on Friday said he was open to a deal, noting that “we have some great options and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy,” suggesting that even Microsoft, which said its TikTok bid had been rejected, might continue to be involved, as well as Oracle and Walmart.

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Trump noted that TikTok was “very, very popular,” said “we have to have the total security from China,” and added that “we can do a combination of both”.

ByteDance has now asked a US judge to block the action against it, according to Bloomberg News.

Amid the escalating row, the Chinese commerce ministry issued on Saturday regulations for its “unreliable entity list” aimed at foreign companies it says endangers its sovereignty, security or development interests.

Companies that end up on the list could be banned from importing or exporting from China, and may be barred from investing in the country. Other measures include imposing fines, entry restrictions on employees into China, and revoking their work or residence permits.

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The launch of the “unreliable entities list” ups the ante in the escalating commercial fight with the Trump administration, which has used its own “entity list” to bar Huawei from the US market on national security grounds.

The Chinese announcement did not mention any specific foreign entities, but in May, state-run tabloid Global Times reported the measures would target such US companies as Apple Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Qualcomm Inc, while suspending purchases of Boeing Co aeroplanes.

Authorities will set up a working mechanism and an office to help implement work related to the list, the ministry added.

Foreign firms could be removed from the list if they correct their behaviours and take steps to eliminate the consequences of their actions, it said.


#Newsworthy…

[United States] Trump insists on cut from Tik Tok sales.

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Trump reiterates that the US must be compensated from the sale of the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform.


President Donald Trump said he’s told people involved in the sale of the U.S. assets of ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok that the deal must be struck by Sept. 15 and the federal government must be “well compensated,” or the service will be shut down.

“I told them they have until Sept. 15 to make a deal — after that we close it up in this country,” Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin. “I said the United States has to be compensated, well compensated.”

It remains unclear how the U.S. would collect compensation from the sale of TikTok. The president said last month that the popular video streaming app’s U.S. operation had to be sold because its Chinese ownership makes it a national security threat.

TikTok has become a flashpoint for U.S. tensions with China. Trump has stepped up his attacks on the video app as his administration increases pressure on China ahead of the November presidential election. Then China on Friday imposed restrictions on the export of artificial intelligence technologies like speech and text recognition, throwing the potential sale into jeopardy. The restrictions will likely make it harder for ByteDance to get government approval for any deal.

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“It’s difficult to tell now whether a deal will happen,” said Doug Barry, senior director of communications at the US-China Business Council. “Both countries want to dominate the key technologies of the future.”

Trump believes that the U.S. deserves compensation for resolving the national security threat posed by TikTok and the administration is looking at ways to extract a payment from any deal that’s struck, according to a person familiar with the matter. Another person said it’s unclear what Trump means when he refers to compensation in any deal, and that it would be the Treasury Department’s job to figure out how to make it work. Both people asked not to be named discussing non-public deliberations.

Microsoft Corp. has teamed up with Walmart Inc. to bid for TikTok’s U.S. assets and they’re vying against a competing offer from Oracle Corp.

White House staff have looked at collecting the money from compliance costs, according to one person familiar with the matter.

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The U.S. assesses fees associated with deals under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which investigates overseas acquisitions of U.S. businesses. But those charges — set on a sliding scale and no higher than $300,000 — appear to fall short of what Trump has demanded.

Microsoft declined to comment. The White House, TikTok and Oracle didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Microsoft committed in a blog post to “providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.” But that language referred to ordinary tax revenue and job creation, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Now ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is reconsidering his options and weighing the implications of Beijing’s involvement, according to people familiar with the matter. The company’s regulatory team and deal negotiators are huddling to discuss whether it’s still possible to craft a sale that can win approval from both governments, an acquirer, venture investors and ByteDance itself.

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Trump has the authority under U.S. law to block foreign acquisitions of American businesses on national security grounds. The administration’s order requiring the TikTok sale stems from ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly, which operated in the U.S. and was merged with TikTok.

Trump on Aug. 14 ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in the U.S. within 90 days, citing risks to American national security. That followed an Aug. 6 order effectively banning the app in the U.S. within 45 days. TikTok has sued the administration to block the ban, arguing the move is unconstitutional and was driven by politics.

The order on the ban cited China’s access to data collected from the app, including location and browsing data. TikTok, a platform for creating and sharing short videos, has grown rapidly in the U.S. from about 11 million monthly active users in January 2018 to 100 million today, according to the company. Global usage has risen to almost 2 billion from 55 million in January 2018, it said.

“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” the Aug. 6 order said.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok comes to conclusion on how to punish Trump amid ban.

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Video app TikTok on Monday said it has filed a lawsuit challenging the US government’s crackdown on the popular Chinese-owned platform, which Washington accuses of being a national security threat

As tensions soar between the world’s two biggest economies, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance — effectively setting a deadline for a potential pressured sale of the app to a US company.

“Today we are filing a complaint in federal court challenging the Administration’s efforts to ban TikTok in the US,” the company said in a blog post.


#Newsworthy…

Update: Tik Tok set to take legal action against Donald Trump amid ban.

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Video app TikTok said Saturday it will challenge in court a Trump administration crackdown on the popular Chinese-owned platform, which Washington accuses of being a national security threat.

As tensions soar between the world’s two biggest economies, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance — effectively setting a deadline for a potential pressured sale of the app to a US company.

“To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system,” TikTok said in a statement.

“Even though we strongly disagree with the administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution,” it said.

“What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”

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ByteDance said in a separate statement that the suit would be filed on Monday, US time.

TikTok’s kaleidoscopic feeds of short clips feature everything from dance routines and hair-dye tutorials to jokes about daily life and politics. It has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world.

Trump claims TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.

The company has said it has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, and Beijing has blasted Trump’s crackdown as political.

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The US measures come ahead of November 3 elections in which Trump, behind his rival Joe Biden in the polls, is campaigning hard on an increasingly strident anti-Beijing message.

– Trump and China –
Trump has increasingly taken a confrontational stance on China, challenging it on trade, military and economic fronts.

Shortly after Trump announced his moves against TikTok this month, the United States slapped sanctions on Hong Kong’s leader over the Chinese security clampdown after last year’s pro-democracy demonstrations.

Microsoft and Oracle are possible suitors for TikTok’s US operations.

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Reports have said Oracle — whose chairman Larry Ellison has raised millions in campaign funds for Trump — was weighing a bid for TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Trump administration has also given ByteDance a 90-day deadline to divest in TikTok before the app is banned in the United States.

The measures move away from the long-promoted American ideal of a global, open internet and could invite other countries to follow suit, analysts told AFP previously.

“It’s really an attempt to fragment the internet and the global information society along US and Chinese lines, and shut China out of the information economy,” Milton Mueller, a Georgia Tech professor and founder of the Internet Governance Project said previously.


#Newsworthy…

US president, Trump targets Tik Tok again with new rule.

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United States President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China’s rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

Trump’s order contends there is “credible evidence” leading him to believe that ByteDance’s take-over of Musical.ly “threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

“As we’ve said previously, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” ByteDance said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”

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The order set to take effect in 90 days retroactively prohibits the acquisition and bars ByteDance from having any interest in Musical.ly.

Trump ordered that any sale of interest in Musical.ly in the US had to be signed off on by the Committee on Foreign Investment, which is to be given access to ByteDance books.

It also ordered that any saved user data be destroyed.

Trump last week made good on threats against WeChat and TikTok — two Chinese-owned apps with major audiences that US officials say pose a national security threat.

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Through an earlier executive order, he gave Americans 45 days to stop doing business with the platforms, effectively setting a deadline for a potential, under-pressure sale of TikTok to Microsoft.

Trump has also called for the US government to be cut in on the deal, a stance slammed by critics who said it appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

Last week’s move also threw into doubt the US operations of WeChat’s parent firm, Tencent, a powerful player in the video game industry and one of the world’s richest companies.

China condemned the move as “arbitrary political manipulation”.

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Trump has claimed TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.

TikTok — used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones — has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.

WeChat is a messaging, social media, and electronic payment platform and is reported to have more than a billion users, with many preferring it to email.

The latest US actions follow a protracted battle over Huawei, the Chinese network and smartphone giant accused by the Trump administration of being a tool for espionage.


#Newsworthy…

Microsoft’s dangerous castle in bid to acquire Tik Tok: Firewall, Gates, Windows

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Microsoft, which is in talks to buy part of Chinese video app TikTok, is one of the few US tech titans that have managed to succeed in China.

The software giant has kept its business alive in the country by complying with strict local laws, despite the communist nation’s wide-reaching censorship.

Here are some key points about the technology and gaming group’s operations in the world’s second-biggest economy.

A pioneer
Microsoft arrived in China in 1992 and opened its largest research and development centre outside the United States. It now employs around 6,200 people in China.

The ubiquitous Windows operating system is used in the vast majority of computers in China — despite Beijing promising in recent years to develop its own operating system. The company’s success has a downside, however, as its software is widely pirated.

The important Chinese market, which is very restrictive for foreign firms, represents a drop in the ocean of Microsoft’s business, accounting for barely 1.8 percent of its turnover, president Brad Smith said at the beginning of the year.

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Microsoft’s Bing is one of the few foreign search engines operating in China — although it is far behind its local competitors Baidu and Sogou, which dominate the market.

Bill Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has long embodied a model of success in the eyes of many Chinese people and his books are bestsellers in the country.

President Xi Jinping visited the company’s headquarters on a state visit to the US in 2015, where he met with Gates and his wife.

Today, as the head of his humanitarian Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 64-year-old has the prestige of a head of state in Beijing.

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In February Xi wrote Gates a letter thanking him for his support during the coronavirus epidemic.

Censorship and control
China censors all subjects considered politically sensitive in the name of stability, and internet giants are urged to block unwanted content online.

Refusing to comply with Beijing’s strict demands, American giants Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, as well as Wikipedia and several other foreign media, are blocked by China’s “great firewall”.

Microsoft, however, operates its professional LinkedIn network in the country by complying with the draconian censorship rules through a local joint venture.

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Skype and Teams, its other two big platforms, are also available in China.

It’s not all smooth sailing though, with Bing temporarily taken offline last year, prompting speculation the search engine had been blocked by censors.

Smith told Fox Business News at the World Economic Forum in Davos that “there are times when there are difficult negotiations with the Chinese government.”

The Greatfire.org website, which tracks online censorship in China, accused Bing a few years ago of redacting results containing sensitive information.

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– Video games –
In 2000 Beijing halted the sale of all consoles because of their alleged negative effects on the “mental health” of young users, although they remained available illegally.

After the ban was lifted, Microsoft in 2014 was the first foreign firm to break into the video games market in China with its Xbox One console.

Also in 2014, the Chinese competition authorities opened an anti-monopoly investigation against Microsoft and its Windows software.

Around 100 inspectors raided the group’s offices in four Chinese cities, confiscating files and questioning employees.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok ban: China accuses United States of “political suppression”

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Beijing on Friday accused the United States of “suppression” after President Donald Trump ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese social media giants TikTok and WeChat.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing that the US move came at the expense of American users and companies.

Trump’s executive orders, which take effect in 45 days, bar anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with the owners of TikTok or WeChat.

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They come as the world’s two biggest economies clash over a host of issues from the coronavirus to Hong Kong and Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Trump’s orders say the social media giants are a threat to US “national security, foreign policy, and economy”, as the president seeks to curb China’s power in global technology.

Wang said “the US frequently abuses its national power and unjustifiably suppresses non-US companies”.

“At the expense of the rights and interests of US users and companies, the US… is carrying out arbitrary political manipulation and suppression,” he added.


#Newsworthy..

Breaking: Tik Tok threatens legal action over Trump’s ban order

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TikTok threatens legal action in US over Trump order.

more to come…


#Newsworthy…

Top Story: Tech giant, Microsoft eyes Tik Tok

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Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing video-sharing app, Noble Reporters Media reported

Microsoft declined to comment on the report, after previously disclosing it was considering a deal for TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The US tech giant has been in discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent firm ByteDance, amid a call by US President Donald Trump to ban the popular app over national security concerns.

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Trump and other officials have argued the app could be used for Chinese espionage, a claim repeatedly denied by TikTok, which does not operate within China.

According to the report, Microsoft has shifted its view because of the complexities of splitting the app and making it operable globally.

TikTok operates in some 150 countries and has an estimated billion users.

Trump has set a September 15 deadline for any deal that would take TikTok from the Chinese firm.


#Newsworthy…

United States Senate votes to ban Tik Tok

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The US Senate voted Thursday to bar TikTok from being downloaded onto US government employees’ telephones, intensifying US scrutiny of the popular Chinese-owned video app.

The bill passed by the Republican controlled Senate now goes to the House of Representatives, led by Democrats.

“TikTok is a major security risk and has no place on government devices,” said Republican Senator Josh Hawley, the sponsor of the bill.

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President Donald Trump, who has locked horns with China on a range of issues including trade and the coronavirus pandemic, has set a deadline of mid-September for TikTok to be acquired by a US firm or be banned in the United States.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris.. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

TikTok is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, and Microsoft is in talks to buy the app’s US operations.

In this file photo taken on November 9, 2018 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference with Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe during the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

The bill passed Thursday says no government employee, members of Congress or people at government corporations may download or use TikTok or any successor app developed by ByteDance “on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation.”

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It states that the only exceptions are “any investigation, cybersecurity research activity, enforcement action, disciplinary action, or intelligence activity.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the US wants to bar from US phones not just TikTok but other Chinese apps which it deems to be threats to Americans’ personal data.

This illustration photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a person using the video-sharing app TikTok on a smartphone. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Washington says TikTok gleans massive amounts of personal data from hundreds of millions of users, which could be passed on to Chinese intelligence and used for spying purposes.

TikTok denies sending American user data back to China.


#Newsworthy..

In: Donald Trump gives Tik Tok six weeks ultimatum

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US President Donald Trump gave popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok six weeks to sell its US operations to an American company, saying Monday it would be “out of business” otherwise, and that the government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

“It’s got to be an American company… it’s got to be owned here,” Trump said. “We don’t want to have any problem with security.”

Trump said that Microsoft was in talks to buy TikTok, which has as many as one billion worldwide users who make quirky 60-second videos with its smartphone app.

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But US officials say the app constitutes a national security risk because it could share millions of Americans’ personal data with Chinese intelligence.

Trump gave the company’s Chinese parent ByteDance until mid-September to strike a deal.

“I set a date of around September 15, at which point it’s going to be out of business in the United States,” he said.

Whatever the price is, he said, “the United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we’re making it possible.”

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Trump compared the demand for a piece of the pie to a landlord demanding under-the-table “key money” from a new tenant, a practice widely illegal including in New York, where the billionaire president built his real estate empire.

“TikTok is a big success, but a big portion of it is in the country,” he said. “I think it’s very fair.”

But Trump also threw a surprise new condition in any deal, saying the sale of TikTok’s US business would have to result in a significant payout to the US Treasury for initiating it.

“A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump told reporters.

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“They don’t have any rights unless we give it to them,” he said.

Sell or shut down
The pressure for a sale of TikTok’s US and international business, based in Los Angeles, left the company and ByteDance facing tough decisions.

Trump has made TikTok the latest front in the ongoing political and trade battles between Washington and Beijing.

The app has been under formal investigation on US national security grounds because it collects large amounts of personal data on all its users and is legally bound to share that with authorities in Beijing if they demand it.

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Both its huge user base and its algorithm for collecting data make it hugely valuable.

But being forced by the US government to sell at least its US business or be shut down — and to then split the sale price with the US Treasury as Trump is demanding — was an almost unheard-of tactic.

Shutting down could force users to switch to competitors, and many content creators are already encouraging followers to follow them on other social media platforms.

“The most obvious beneficiaries are Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, with Snapchat likely being the biggest beneficiary,” said investment analysts at Lightshed Partners.

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Earlier Monday, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming acknowledged the hefty pressure and said in a letter to staff, reported by Chinese media, that they were working around-the-clock “for the best outcome.”

“We have always been committed to ensuring user data security, as well as the platform neutrality and transparency,” Zhang said.

However, he said, the company faces “mounting complexities across the geopolitical landscape and significant external pressure.”

He said the company must confront the challenge from the United States, though “without giving up exploring any possibilities.”

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According to reports sourced by Noble Reporters Media, as a possible consequence of the pressure, ByteDance is planning to relocate TikTok’s global operations to Britain.

Pushing back
China’s foreign ministry pushed back Monday, calling Washington hypocritical for demanding TikTok be sold.

“The US is using an abused concept of national security and, without providing any evidence, is making presumptions of guilt and issuing threats to relevant companies,” said spokesman Wang Wenbin.

“This goes against the principle of market economy and exposes the hypocrisy and typical double standards of the US in upholding so-called fairness and freedom,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok users frowns at Trump’s threat of US ban

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A TikTok star pounds a beat as she weaves lyrics mocking the idea of US President Donald Trump banning the short-form video-sharing app.

The “Trump Freestyle” post-Monday by @maya2960 quickly racked up more than a million views and 500,000 “likes” on the popular platform owned by China-based ByteDance.

“Didn’t think this through, little Donny, did you? Not much of a businessman,” she rapped.

“You can ban this app, there’ll be a new one. There’s supply where there’s demand.”

The lyrics included a promise that TikTok users would not go down without a fight, citing First Amendment protections against government censorship of free speech.

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Another video snippet racking up views was captioned “Me trying to convince Trump to let us keep TikTok” and showed a woman coloring her face orange and building a brick wall.

American comedian Elijah Daniels used Twitter to bid farewell to his TikTok followers, giving “a big shout out to Donald Trump for mishandling the entire pandemic” but then taking away an app raising people’s spirits.

Twenty TikTok stars, whose combined followings top 100 million people, posted an open letter to Trump on Medium arguing against banning the app.

“A virtual world dominated by hate on Twitter is nothing compared to the snapshots of joy and comedy on TikTok,” read the open letter.

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“So instead of eliminating TikTok, why not use this opportunity to spin off TikTok US in an IPO or sell it to a US company — let capitalism solve this issue, not the state.”

This illustration photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a person using the video-sharing app TikTok on a smartphone in New Delhi.
Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Trump wants a cut
Trump gave TikTok six weeks to sell its US operations to an American company, saying Monday it would be “out of business” otherwise, and that the government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

“It’s got to be an American company… it’s got to be owned here,” Trump said. “We don’t want to have any problem with security.”

Trump said that Microsoft was in talks to buy TikTok, which has as many as one billion worldwide users who make quirky 60-second videos with its smartphone app.

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But US officials say the app constitutes a national security risk because it could share millions of Americans’ personal data with Chinese intelligence.

Trump gave ByteDance until mid-September to strike a deal.

Whatever the price is, he said, “the United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we’re making it possible.”

Trump compared the demand for a piece of the pie to a landlord demanding under-the-table “key money” from a new tenant, a practice widely illegal including in New York, where the billionaire president built his real estate empire.

Trump also said the sale of TikTok’s US business would have to result in a significant payout to the US Treasury for initiating it.

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Flop rally payback?
Some on TikTok suspect that the president’s threat is connected to the platform’s popularity among activists, such as those protesting racial discrimination.

Legions of K-pop fans and TikTok users took credit for upending a Trump rally in June by block-reserving tickets with no intention of attending the event — which wound up with an embarrassingly low turnout.

Prior to the event in Tulsa, Oklahoma — hyped as a major relaunch ahead of the November presidential election — Trump’s campaign chairman tweeted that more than a million tickets had been requested.

But according to the local fire department, just 6,200 people turned up.

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“Now I don’t think it’s a coincidence after Tulsa was a flop; out of the blue, now suddenly you, want to go ahead and ban TikTok,” @maya2960 rapped.

TikTok appeals to a generation that spent their childhoods on the internet, seeing it evolve from a cornucopia of online platforms to a virtual world dominated by titans such as Facebook and Google, according to the open letter.

“There are serious concerns over how the app collects its data that merit an American response,” those signing the letter said.

“But ironically, it is the first company to challenge the companies that have put an end to the open internet.”

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Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors that the chances of Microsoft buying TikTok are strong.

“Microsoft buying TikTok would be a coup,” Ives said, noting the valuation could be worth some $40 billion.

Microsoft has prospered by focusing on serving businesses with software and services, but has stumbled when it comes to consumer products aside from Xbox video game offerings.

TikTok would be a chance to challenge Facebook in the social media space, according to Ives.


#Newsworthy…

Tik Tok ‘Out’ in United States if not sold – Trump

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President Donald Trump said Monday that Chinese-owned hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok will be “out of business” in the United States if not sold to a US firm by September 15.

“I set a date of around September 15, at which point it’s going to be out of business in the United States,” he told reporters.

“It’ll close down on September 15th unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal.”


#Newsworthy…

Microsoft set to continue talks to acquire Tik Tok

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Microsoft announced Sunday it would continue talks to acquire the US operations of popular video-sharing app TikTok, after meeting with President Donald Trump who seemingly backed off his earlier threats to ban the Chinese-owned platform.

“Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States,” the company said in a statement, acknowledging the “importance of addressing the President’s concerns” over national security.

Microsoft added that it would continue negotiations with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, with the intention of “completing these discussions no later than September 15.”

The statement came after Trump on Friday said he would ban the app, which is especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos and has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

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TikTok should be sold or blocked in the US, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ABC earlier Sunday, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Fox News the president would “take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party.”

TikTok denies it could be a tool for Chinese intelligence, with its US general manager Vanessa Pappas declaring Saturday: “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2020 Microsoft Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, gestures as he addresses the Future Decoded Tech Summit in Bangalore. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

‘Biggest loser’
“The United States would be the biggest loser if it banned TikTok,” Daniel Castro, vice president of the think tank Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, said Saturday.

“All of its data centers are outside of China, and there is no evidence that it presents a national security threat.”

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Trump said he would use an executive order to ban TikTok, or the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law granting the president powers to regulate international trade in the face of an “unusual and extraordinary threat” from abroad to US foreign policy, national security or the economy.

His threat has caused great concern for US TikTok users, particularly content creators who make money on the platform.

Many of them have posted links to their Instagram or YouTube accounts so as not to lose followers if the platform is ultimately blocked.

In its statement, Microsoft said it plans to “build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.”

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Buying TikTok would give Microsoft a chance to break into the social networking market.

The IT group currently owns the professional networking platform LinkedIn, and Teams, an internal messaging service for companies.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

‘Bizarre’
Pappas promised Saturday to create 10,000 US jobs at TikTok over the next three years, in addition to the 1,500 current employees.

“Don’t fall for this,” responded senior Trump aide Peter Navarro, a fierce China critic and a main architect of the trade war with Beijing.

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“China has hired a whole bunch of American lobbyists. They put a puppet CEO in charge of that company,” he told Fox News, referring to former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, who became the CEO of TikTok in May.

On Friday evening Trump indicated he opposed a takeover of TikTok by an American company, a solution nevertheless agreed to by most of the involved parties, including ByteDance, according to The New York Times.

“This is getting bizarre. A 100 percent sale to an American company… mitigates any reasonable data protection concerns,” tweeted Alex Stamos, a former Facebook head of security and a researcher at Stanford University.

“If the White House kills this (sale) we know this isn’t about national security,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

Mnuchin: Tik Tok be ‘sold or blocked’

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TikTok must either be sold or blocked in the US due to national security concerns, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday in the latest ominous US warning to the Chinese-owned app.

TikTok, he said, simply “cannot exist as it does.”

Mnuchin did not comment directly on President Donald Trump’s threat Friday to bar the wildly popular video-sharing app.

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The secretary recalled that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States — which he chairs — is reviewing TikTok, which is especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos and has an estimated one billion users worldwide.

But in one of many fronts in US-Chinese relations that have turned practically poisonous these days, US officials have said it could be a tool for Chinese intelligence. TikTok denies any such suggestion.

“I will say publicly that the entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans,” Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC.

In this file photo illustration taken on November 21, 2019, the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok is displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

Mnuchin said he has spoken to leaders of Congress including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer about what to do with TikTok’s operations in the US.

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“We agree there needs to be a change. Force a sale or block the app. Everybody agrees it can’t exist as it does,” Mnuchin said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that negotiations for Microsoft to buy the US operations of TikTok, owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, are on hold after Trump threatened to bar the app.

TikTok defended itself on Saturday, with its general manager for the US, Vanessa Pappas, telling users that the company was working to give them “the safest app,” amid US concerns over data security.

“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Pappas said in a message released on the app.


#Newsworthy…