Microsoft is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire the US operations of viral video-sharing app, TikTok. The app is currently owned by Chinese tech firm, ByteDance, which has faced intense scrutiny recently following rising anti-China sentiment around the world. The deal, which is expected to be in billion of dollars, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The news comes on a day when the US President, Donald Trump, said that TikTok might soon be banned in the country. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the US”, Donald Trump told reporters on Friday. “We may be doing some other things. There are a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot alternatives with respect to TikTok”, he said. Last month, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that the country was seriously considering a ban on TikTok out of national security concerns.
Meanwhile, TikTok has already been banned in India along with dozens of other Chinese apps. The action followed deadly clashes between the troops of the two countries in Ladakh earlier this year. The skirmish left twenty Indian soldiers dead and started a ‘boycott-China’ movement in the country.
As if its woes in India and US aren’t bad enough, TikTok is also reportedly being investigated in Australia over potential data-privacy issues. The Australian government is apparently looking at whether the app poses any risk to users due to possible ‘foreign interference’. TikTok and its parent company, meanwhile, claim that they have no relation with the Chinese government.