- TikTok may avoid being banned in the U.S. if Microsoft successfully purchases the app for use in the country
- U.S. President Donald Trump flagged on Friday he wanted the popular social media app banned amid security concerns
- The Trump Administration is concerned about the personal user data Tik Tok may be supplying the Chinese Government
- Microsoft has now intervened and has until mid-September to try and purchase the app from owner ByteDance
- If it's successful, Microsoft will own and operate the app in not only the U.S., but also in Australia, Canada and New Zealand
Good news for the tens of millions of TikTok users in the U.S., with Microsoft announcing it will try and buy the Chinese app and stop it from being banned.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Friday he wanted to ban the popular video-sharing app, amid concerns about users data being handed over to the Chinese Government.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” President Trump said.
His comments were echoed by Vice President Mike Pence who said on Sunday that apps like TikTok were "feeding data" directly to the Communist Party of China.
"Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to," he said of the data being handed over.
Under Chinese law, the Communist Party can compel any domestic company to hand over data it has collected on users.
However, TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said all of its U.S. user data is stored in America and strictly guarded.
"TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. with strict controls on employee access," a company spokesperson said.
“We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
Regardless of the company's safety pledge, and wider popularity within the U.S. where 60 to 85 million people are estimated to use the app, the Trump Administration still wants it banned.
Microsoft is capitalising on the threat and has again offered to buy the app and operate it in the U.S., Australian, Canadian and New Zealand markets.
The leading software company had previously offered to purchase TikTok, while still allowing ByteDance to keep a minority stake in the business, but the idea was rejected.
Now, Microsoft has begun talks with TikTok's owners and the U.S. Government about taking full control of the app, in a bid to keep it running.
In a statement released on Sunday, Microsoft said it had spoken to President Trump and was "prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States".
"Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury," the company said.
Microsoft will move quickly to pursue a deal with ByteDance, saying it expects an agreement to potentially finalised by September 15.
TikTok is expected to stay operational until then.