TikTok rocketed further into the mainstream in July, when President Trump indicated that his administration would like to see TikTok banned, and later sold off, over alleged privacy concerns stemming from parent company ByteDance being headquartered in China. Big players like Microsoft are interested in making a deal to keep the popular short video platform alive, but sources inside the Chinese government claim the country would rather see TikTok die off in the US rather than be pressured into selling.
Obviously, ByteDance being bossed around by a foreign government doesn’t reflect well on China, as it risks being seen as weak amidst pressure from the US. Three people with direct knowledge of the subject in Beijing have said that the Chinese government would rather the app be closed in the US than forcibly auctioned off to another owner.
In fact, a recent revision to a list of technology exports means that China could block the deal from its end, preventing the TikTok recommendation algorithm from crossing the seas. ByteDance and potential buyers are in discussions about ways to get around this, including selling US operations without the inclusion of key algorithms.
The US government has told TikTok it has until September 15 to either sell the app’s US operations to a company based in the United States. Otherwise, the app may be doomed. First Vine and now TikTok — maybe short video apps are just cursed?
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