After a several-months-long fight to get TikTok banned from US app stores, President Donald Trump has approved a deal that will keep TikTok available to the US, at least for the time being. Early this week, Trump signed an executive order that would force Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores as of midnight Sunday, September 20, prohibiting further downloads or updates of the app to those in the US.
Over the past few months, ByteDance, Chinese tech company and creator of TikTok, has faced pressure from the Trump administration to reach a deal and sell its operations by November 12, or else face a ban in the US. As of August 25, TikTok reported having 100 million active users in the US, which made up around 13 percent of the app's active users worldwide.
The Trump administration believed it was likely that the Chinese government could place pressures on ByteDance to compromise US users' privacy and allow the authoritarian government access to their information. Some US officials fear that this could potentially be used to blackmail US users or be utilized for slandering.
Many companies threw their hats in the ring to purchase the app, including Microsoft, which was turned down. This rejection was another big scare for US users, but thankfully, there were several other companies putting in bids.
Oracle, a US tech company, joined forces with Walmart to purchase TikTok, and though the financial aspects of the deal have not been made clear to us yet, we do know that the two will likely be headquartering what will now be called TikTok Global in Texas, where they claim to be creating an estimated 25,000 US jobs. They will also be paying five billion dollars in taxes to the Treasury.
ByteDance will retain partial ownership, but Oracle and Walmart claim that TikTok Global will be primarily owned by US investors, and that four out of five of its board seats will be American. They hope to have public stock offering within a year.
Trump has tentatively approved the deal, stating that it would be a great opportunity for the US and that he does like the concept, but that we will have to see if it truly pans out.
The now-TikTok Global partnership has expressed that they are confident in their ability to maintain security of all its users globally, and that they will also be introducing some new features to the app, including the ability to access and shop Walmart online via TikTok.
Again, this is all really up in the air until the deal is completely solidified and Trump is happy with the outcome of the new TikTok Global. I expect there to be much more turmoil over the matter within the next year, until we really see the impact of TikTok Global on the US economy and if those 25,000 jobs are actually created. Considering there is still that partial ownership belonging to ByteDance, there will have to be monitoring of overseas business transactions, as well. A close friend of Trump's is one of the co-founders of Oracle, so we can hopefully expect the business deal to go through much more smoothly because of this.