that this afternoon, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters gathering to see him off to a campaign rally, that he has approved "in concept" Oracle's bid for the U.S. operations of TikTok. The short-form video app, owned by China's ByteDance, has been accused by the Trump administration of being a national security threat because it could pass along personal data from U.S. customers to the Communist Chinese government in Beijing. Trump signed an executive order that forced ByteDance to divest itself of TikTok's U.S. operations this coming Monday, September 21st
Trump says he approves of a TikTok deal "in concept"
Last week, after several U.S. companies had expressed interest in TikTok such as Microsoft, Oracle, and Walmart, Oracle's plan was given the nod by ByteDance. However, the administration felt that the plan didn't go far enough to protect the better than 50 million active U.S. TikTok users
. As a result, the U.S. said that it would ban downloads of TikTok in the states starting on Monday morning. Those who have already downloaded the app before Monday would be allowed to continue using it until November 12th unless a deal was approved by the U.S. But everything might have changed following this afternoon's announcement. What isn't clear at this point is what the president means when he says that a deal has been approved "in concept."
Last second deal for TikTok includes Oracle and Walmart says the president
While things are still up in the air at this hour, Trump says that the deal will also include Walmart and hinted that TikTok would be "totally controlled" by Oracle and Walmart, something that he repeated several times this afternoon. "I have given the deal my blessing," the president said. "If they get it done, that's great. If they don't, that's okay, too." Previously, the president wanted the companies involved in acquiring TikTok's U.S. operations to make a payment to the U.S. Treasury. But such a deal would be illegal, something that Trump was not aware of. Still, the president spoke with Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and Walmart Inc. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon on Friday, telling both executives that he still wanted a cash payout for the U.S. government.
A new company called TikTok Global will be created, according to those in the know, and it will help create a $5 billion fund for U.S. education. Discussing this contribution, Trump stated that "They’re going to be setting up a very large fund. That’s their contribution that I’ve been asking for." The new TikTok Global will probably be headquartered in Texas and 25,000 people will be hired according to the president. But that figure could not be independently verified. Facebook had 45,000 employees last year while Twitter had 4,900 employees. There is speculation that TikTok Global will hold an IPO and go public within the next year. The president said about TikTok Global, "It will have nothing to do with China, it’ll be totally secure, that’ll be part of the deal. All of the control is WalMart and Oracle, two great American companies."
ByteDance will retain TikTok's algorithm which is used to decide which videos are available to certain TikTok users. China recently announced a regulation that prevents other countries from using any algorithm created in the country. Oracle will get full access to review TikTok's source code and any updates to make sure that there are no backdoors involved that could be used to steal U.S. subscribers' personal data.
TikTok has been a popular destination for teens and others looking to pass time during the pandemic. Users can create 15 or 60-second videos showing lip-synching, dancing, pranks, protests, and more. The app has been installed over two billion times from the App Store and the Google Play Store.