Tension over the future of the popular app in the US is increasing, especially now that China has also joined the sales process. Trump believes the app is a security risk as long as it is part of the Chinese company ByteDance; the user data could come into the hands of the Beijing government. The company contradicts this. However, the Trump government’s app must be sold to an American Party. Only then can TikTok remain active in the United States.
Next week, two sales deadlines expire: Tuesday one mentioned by Trump and Sunday one confirmed by a decree by the president. Which is unclear. The expectation is that TikTok will not meet the sales deadlines and Trump will not give a delay.
It is the first social media app from China with great success in the West. ByteDance doesn’t really want to sell the app at all, but thinks it has no choice. There are two potential buyers: Microsoft together with Walmart and Oracle in cooperation with investors.
The fact that there is so much uncertainty now is due to China’s last-minute involvement in the process. A deal seemed to be a matter of days at the end of August, but then the Beijing government decided to change the export rules for technology. As a result, TikTok has to ask permission for a sale, because the app’s algorithm is labeled “sensitive”. The question is whether the authorized company: China would prefer the app to be closed in the US rather than a sale going on.
The big question that now hangs over the market is whether a potential buyer will get hold of the algorithm in a deal. According to sources of the Reuters news agency, there are four options: TikTok buy it without the cipher, secure the consent of China, the algorithm of license ByteDance, and the US is asking for a transition. All these options have disadvantages.
The companies involved have become completely dependent on the political dynamics between the US and China. China is showing with the step that it’s done with Trump’s rhetoric. China’s interest is its own constituency. It doesn’t want to look like the American government’s defenseless plaything.
The negotiations are now much more complicated. China does not want the takeover to continue as the US now sees it.
The unrest surrounding the app in the US also raises the question of what is going to happen in Europe. Europe is always critical of how users ‘ privacy is handled. Privacy watchdogs in several EU member states, including the Netherlands, are now investigating TikTok.
Commissioner Thierry Breton said at the beginning of this month that the Trump government is right to control us user data. The same applies to Europe, he said. Something that will happen, because TikTok has announced the construction of a data centre in Ireland. Banish an app? The commissioner does not want that.