TikTok ban – live: Trump administration promises ‘action’ on app as Microsoft in takeover talks

The Trump administration has promised to take “action” on TikTok, in keeping with the president’s suggestions that the app poses a national security threat and could be banned.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo suggested over the weekend that Chinese-owned apps like TikTok and WeChat are passing information to the Chinese government, promising new sanctions soon after Donald Trump suggested he could ban the app entirely.

The app has strenuously denied any suggestions that users’ data is unsafe: US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access, and its biggest investors come from the US, the company said in a statement as the controversy grew.

“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,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

Here is all the latest news as the controversy continues.

China responds to rumours of a ban

China said on Monday it was firmly opposed to any U.S. actions against Chinese software companies, responding to remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Washington will take action shortly against Chinese firms feeding data to Beijing’s government.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters during a daily briefing that China hopes the U.S. can stop its discriminatory policies.

Via Reuters.

​Microsoft confirms it is hoping to buy TikTok

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And here’s the latest on the potential acquisition by Microsoft, which the company has now confirmed, via Associated Press.

Microsoft confirmed Sunday it is in talks with Chinese company ByteDance to acquire the U.S. arm of its popular video app TikTok and has discussed with President Donald Trump his concerns about security and censorship surrounding such an acquisition.

In a statement, Microsoft said Microsoft and ByteDance have provided notice of their intent to explore a deal resulting in Microsoft owning and operating the TikTok service in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company said it expects those talks to conclude by Sept. 15.

Trump said on Friday that he would soon ban TikTok in the United States. Trump and CEO Satya Nadella have spoken, the company said, and Microsoft was prepared to continue exploring the purchase of TikTok’s U.S. operations after their conversation.

“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 Microsoft statement said.

The White House did not immediately comment on the Microsoft statement.

Pompeo promises ‘action’

The latest remarks on a possible ban came from secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who stopped short of saying that the app would be banned entirely – as Trump suggested – and instead promised “action”.

In an interview, he accused the app of representing national security risk because it is “feeding data directly” to the Chinese government.

“These Chinese software companies doing business in the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat – there are countless more … are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus,” Mr Pompeo told the Fox News Channel.

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“Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to. Those – those are the issues that President Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of,” he said.

TikTok has denied those charges, arguing that its US data is stored only in the US and is protected from both employees and governments.

Here’s the full report:

Welcome to The Independent’s live blog of the growing controversy over whether Donald Trump will ban TikTok in the US.

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