The U.S. president has ordered that the Chinese owned short-form video sharing app to be banned as security concerns grow, but now Microsoft want to buy TikTok.
Many countries are thinking about banning the popular Chinese video-sharing app as federal investigations confirm that the application records a dangerous amount of information from their users which could be handed over to the Chinese Communist Party government. But Microsoft think they have a plan to save it.
India was the first country to outright ban the use of the TikTok app in their country. As military conflict escalated between the two nations when many Indian soldiers were shot dead at the India–China border.
The conflict prompted the Indian government to act immediately and ban TikTok, not only due to the conflict but also growing security concerns.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, that ByteDance — Chinese company that owns TikTok — has been handing data over to the Chinese Communist Party.
U.S. Secretary of State warns that TikTok is a “national security risk.”
This is nothing new. All Chinese owned companies have no choice but to hand over sensitive data of their clients if the Chinese government requests it; this includes the valuable information of overseas users.
TikTok is mostly popular among children and young adults between 13 and 24. Not only does ByteDance store sensitive information and videos of minors on their Chinese servers, but they also target these youths with pro-Chinese political ads.
The sad thing is that it seems to be working. A vast majority of the users, who are even to young to vote, share Anti-American and Pro-Communist views on the platform. These kinds of videos also get promoted inside the platform and usually go viral.
Mircosoft believe they have a solution, but it may be a little too little, too late.
Time is TikToking away
Microsoft have reportedly taken the necessary steps to move forward with an acquisition of ByteDance’s popular short-form video sharing app, but time is ticking.
A deal must be made before the U.S. government takes action. This has prompted Microsoft to reach out to Donald J. Trump in hopes that he will postpone executive action and revoke the ban if a deal between the two is made.
“[Microsoft] is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the company said, adding that it will “move quickly” to talk with ByteDance “in a matter of weeks.”
“During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President,” the company added.
However, many people are sceptical that a deal will be made in time and — no — it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
Could TikTok be saved if they use Azure cloud?
Mary J Foel at ZDNet pointed out that, regardless of the US ban, selling TikTok to Microsoft would back be a huge leap backwards for ByteDance.
“Another area of overlap could be advertising. Microsoft has been trying to build up its advertising business around its Bing search engine for the past several years. And TikTok, as of late, has been trying to establish itself as a potential ad player, with the slogan,‘Don’t Make Ads; Make TikToks.’“
All TikTok data will need to be stored on American owned Microsoft Azure cloud servers.
Two factors come in to play with this deal; the first, and foremost, being time. Trump said that he will be taking action against TikTok in the coming days but a negation of this calibre can take weeks, even months, to finalise. Microsoft and ByteDance would need to show that significant steps have been made ahead of the deal.
The second variable is whether ByteDance are willing to sell to Microsoft and transfer all of their data to their Azure cloud network. This is also a very formidable task.
If the deal collapses and TikTok is banned in the United States people can still access the servers using a VPN. It’s simply, costs very little… but, depending on the law, you can get fined for bypassing the TikTok ban.