ByteDance rebuffs Microsoft’s TikTok purchase proposal

Microsoft has revealed that ByteDance, owner of TikTok, has declined to sell its US operations to the software giant.

“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft,” said a brief Sunday post to Microsoft’s corporate blog.

“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” the post says, adding that Microsoft planned “significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement.”

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Microsoft signed off its blog post with “We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”

US president Donald Trump has set a deadline of September 15th for TikTok to either be sold to a US company or shut down its operations in the country.

Trump also called for all-American security of the highest order to be brought to TikTok because he asserts the made-in-China social network creates national security risks by collecting consumer data.

Which is deeply ironic given that Microsoft has experience as a steward of consumer data across many properties. The remaining American company known to be interested in acquiring TikTok, Oracle, has less experience of doing so and almost no consumer business. Oracle does, however, offer marketing software that would become more potent if infused with the records of millions of TikTok users. Oracle also has little or no experience handling the kinds of controversies that erupt endlessly on social media platforms. Last week, for example, a violent video thought to depict a suicide circulated widely on TikTok. The video led to calls for tighter moderation and protection of young users of the social network.

ByteDance and TikTok have not made any statements about the sale at the time of writing. Nor has Oracle. The Register will update this story if more information becomes available. ®

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