According to an exclusive Reuters report, Chinese government officials prefer a TikTok US shutdown over a sale. US President Donald Trump affirmed in an executive order that unless sold by mid-September, TikTok will be banned.
What’s the reason behind the potential ban? The US Government and Trump administration allege that the app “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users.” Such information allegedly includes location and browsing history.
Despite these claims, the app has become incredibly popular in the United States. Company spokesperson Josh Gartner notes that the app is “a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” loved by over 100 million US users.
TikTok is not happy about the recent executive order. They responded to Trump’s decision with an official statement. It notes:
We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.
As of now, TikTok is based in Bejing. Currently owned by ByteDance, and Oracle is in talks as a potential buyer. Microsoft is no longer in the race after their bid was rejected on September 13th.
Why a TikTok Shutdown Over a Sale?
Chinese government officials and Bytedance would actually prefer a total TikTok US shutdown instead of a sale. Why? An anonymous source told Reuters that “Chinese officials believe a forced sale would make both ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure from Washington,” highlighting some of the existing tensions between the United States and China.
In the event of a deal, the United States wants a cut. Trump declared that the reason TikTok is so profitable is because of how popular the app is across the United States. As a result, he emphasized that the US should receive a “substantial amount of money” for greatly contributing to the app’s success.
Time is ticking. The deadline of September 15th looms close by, leaving the future of TikTok uncertain.