There has been a further development in the TikTok saga in USA, with President Donald Trump finally issuing the executive order he has been threatening for some time, ordering the sale of the US segment of TikTok.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “The order directs ByteDance to divest all interests and rights in any assets or property used to enable or support the operation of TikTok in the United States, and any data obtained or derived from TikTok or Musical.ly users in the United States. CFIUS conducted an exhaustive review of the case and unanimously recommended this action to the President in order to protect U.S. users from exploitation of their personal data.”
The order however also extends the deadline by which TikTok will have to comply to 90 days from this date, ie to the 12th of November 2020, rather than the 15th September.
The move is considered to be good news for TikTok, with owner Bytedance feeling a pressured sale unfairly limited their negotiating ability. In a statement, Bytedance merely said: “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.”
Microsoft is a front-runner in the purchase of TikTok, both in USA and possibly its whole global $50 billion business, but other contenders have arisen, particularly for the much cheaper US-only portion.
Ex-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has called the deal a “poison chalice”, referring to issues such as end-to-end encryption which places social media owners at odds with governments over privacy and user protection.