TikTok ban: Microsoft holds secret talks with Donald Trump over social media app takeover

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It follows the tech giant revealing they are interested in taking over the Chinese social media app. Mr Trump announced that he is ready to hit TikTok with an executive order banning the app over concerns about security risks. Officials from the two companies have been discussing the potential ban with the White House.

But pending a security review, Mr Trump would allow an American company to buy the app to allow it to continue operations.

Two Republican senators have voiced their support for Microsoft’s potential purchase.

Marco Rubio, Florida, and Linsey Graham, South Carolina, said that the TikTok sale would be a “win-win” for the US government.

Mr Graham said on Twitter: “What’s the right answer? Have an American company like Microsoft take over TikTok. Win-win.”

Sources close to Microsoft have said that the companies are awaiting Mr Trump’s final decision on the app before pushing ahead with any deal.

He said that a final decision would be reached on the executive order by Tuesday.

The sources said that while talks initially centred around ownership of TikTok’s US branch, Mr Trump’s announcement has raised the stakes behind the deal.

Now Reuters sources claim that ByteDance will exit completely, with Microsoft taking full ownership of the app.

TikTok owners ByteDance first entered talks with Microsoft nearly a month ago, but concerns remain over whether the deal can go ahead.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who chairs the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, added that Republican and Democrat leaders “all agree there needs to be a change”, and warned that Mr Trump has the final say on whether the sale goes ahead.

Mr Mnuchin said to ABC: “I’ve said publicly that it’s under review.

“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.

“The president can either force a sale or he can block the app.”

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Vanessa Pappas, the US general manager of TikTok, was optimistic about the app’s continued American access.

She said that TikTok was “not planning on going anywhere”.

Ms Pappas added: “When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app, because we know it’s the right thing to do.

“We’re here for the long run, continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.”

Mr Trump said at an Air Force One press briefing on Friday that the US was ready to force to app out of the country.

He said: “As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added today that TikTok was “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party”.

He added to Fox News: “President Trump has said ‘enough’ and we’re going to fix it.”

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