The Chinese company behind TikTok offered the White House a last-minute deal to avoid a U.S. ban on the app, after President Trump announced plans to block it on Friday night.
The social network, controlled by a company called ByteDance, is hugely popular in the United States with more than 80 million daily active users. But there has been growing fear that the company may become a front for Chinese espionage efforts.
Under the terms of the new offering, ByteDance said it would completely divest itself of the app’s U.S. operations, Reuters reported Saturday.
The offer is a concession for the company, which previously hoped to maintain a minority stake in TikTok’s local operations. Under the new deal, the company would go out of its way and hand over 100 percent control of the US wing of the application to Microsoft.
The deal could also allow some US ByteDance investors to retain minority interests in the new business, although it remains unclear.
So far, the White House has been good at the idea, and President Trump told reporters on Air Force One on Friday night that he intended to ban the service and was in no mood to negotiate on the matter.
“It is not the deal you have been hearing about, that they are going to buy and sell. … We are not an M&A [mergers and acquisitions] country, “Trump said.” As far as TikTok is concerned, we are banning them in the United States. “
While US-based tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google have alerted about their data collection and privacy concerns, TikTok has come under particular scrutiny as a result of its Chinese ownership. Many in the Trump administration, as well as independent experts, are concerned that the company cannot reliably protect the data of American users of the country’s communist government.