The Independent has reached out to TikTok for comment. But that happened way before the US President and his administration started cornering TikTok by accusing it of invasively collecting American users' data and then forwarding it to the Chinese government, citing TikTok as a national security threat. Some analysts expected the U.S. government to extend the short-notice deadline - but Trump refuses to budge.
Under an August 6 executive order, the White House gave ByteDance 45 days to sell TikTok's U.S. operations to an American buyer, arguing the popular app poses a threat to privacy and national security.
"I'm sure there are any number of backdoors that are built into the code and of course ByteDance knows exactly what they are, so there needs to be a clean, clear, total separation", Hawley said. As a outcome of this decision, more than 100 moderators will be relocated to other jobs within the parent company, Bytedance, or will be fired outright. But a new Chinese law limiting the sale of artificial intelligence technology outside its borders slowed deal negotiations as all sides seek clarity on what the new rules would mean for a TikTok sale. TikTok's AI-based algorithms, which shows new content to users depending on their interests and browsing history, are valuable and a huge part of its success.
Bytedance now has until the 12th November to close the deal, with an ever-changing roster of potential purchases ranging from Oracle to Microsoft to Twitter and more all vying for the property. Walmart and Microsoft were also seen partnering up to buy the application.
TikTok's security is also under a magnifying glass in several other countries.
According to Mr Trump, TikTok and other Chinese apps that collect data on United States citizens pose a national security threat.
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TikTok has fought back against those claims. The investment would come at a crucial time as the technology company is forced to sell TikTok operations in the US under pressure from the Trump administration.
TikTok has said that it stores all USA user data in the United States, with back-up in Singapore, which analysts say is likely to become more attractive for firms seeking a neutral location amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Since launching in 2017, TikTok, ByteDance's global version of Douyin, has become firmly entrenched in internet culture, especially among Gen Z. In the USA alone, TikTok says it has over 100 million users in the US and employs about 1,500 people. One popular TikTok creator, who goes by @carrieberkk on the app, garnered 90,000 views with an informational video advising users to switch their phone's region settings to Canada, where she reckoned the app wouldn't be banned.
On Aug. 6, Trump signed an targeting TikTok.
TikTok has defended itself vehemently, saying that USA user data is stored within the country.
Obviously, ByteDance being bossed around by a foreign government doesn't reflect well on China, as it risks being seen as weak amidst pressure from the US. TikTok has said it would not comply with any request to share user data with the Chinese authorities. USA officials have been concerned about Chinese control over data of U.S. citizens for years.