Tik Tok Ban Averted by President Trump
Written By Zaina Cummins
TikTok downloads were set to be banned in the U.S. starting at midnight Sunday, but that has now been averted.
“I have given the deal my blessing,” Trump said. “I approve the deal in concept.”
As part of the deal rescuing TikTok, U.S. tech company Oracle is joining hands with Walmart to form a new entity called TikTok Global, which will be headquartered in the United States.
That arrangement appears to satisfy the White House’s concerns over the security of American user data, even though Chinese tech company ByteDance is expected to hold its majority-ownership position.
“The interactions with the Chinese government, and the ability of the Chinese government to put pressure on the ByteDance company, is still substantial,” said Chris Kelly, former chief privacy officer at Facebook.
“It won’t be strange to have interaction between the two companies on a number of different issues, including algorithmic operations, so that could stretch into personal data pretty easily,” Kelly said in an interview.
TikTok, which has some 100 million active monthly users in the U.S., is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. But for months, the Trump administration has been pushing TikTok to sever its ties to ByteDance.
“While we strongly disagree with the implications of TikTok as a national security threat, we nonetheless understand the concerns,” wrote Vanessa Pappas, interim head of TikTok, in a statement on Saturday. “We’re pleased that today we’ve confirmed a proposal that resolves the Administration’s security concerns and settles questions around TikTok’s future in the US.”
“We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world,” said Oracle CEO Safra Catz, who served on Trump’s 2016 transition team.
Oracle and Walmart officials say that TikTok Global will create more than 25,000 new jobs and pay $5 billion in taxes to the Treasury, though specifics were not provided, such as over what period those taxes were expected to be paid.
In addition, TikTok Global said it will develop an educational curriculum driven by artificial intelligence to teach children basic reading, history and other subjects.
Tik Tok plans to raise money ahead of a planned initial public offering on the stock market in less than a year.
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