US President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday that will force China’s ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business within 90 days.
According to the earlier executive order, ByteDance was given a 45-day deadline that was to end on September 20. With the new executive order ByteDance has got slight relief since it now has time until November 12 to work out a sale deal.
In the order issued on 14th August, Trump wrote, “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” The US government has highlighted the issue that TikTok may share data and information about Americans with the Chinese government. The company has denied that it has ever done so.
Earlier, TikTok was banned by the Indian government, citing national security and user privacy concerns.
TikTok was apparently collecting some of its users’ MAC addresses, which are unique, fixed identifiers assigned to mobile phones and other internet-connected devices. MAC addresses can be used to track the physical whereabouts of a person using a connected device, even if they have opted out of all manner of other ad-related trackers in their phone’s settings.
The report prompted U.S. senators to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate TikTok’s data collection practices.
Microsoft has revealed its intention to purchase the US business of ByteDance’s TikTok. The Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even discussed it with the US President. Microsoft has said that it expects the discussions to wind up, “no later than September 15, 2020.” There were speculations that Microsoft was considering buying TikTok’s Australia and New Zealand and potentially India business as well. However, recently Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates called the potential deal a “poisoned chalice”.