Trump to order Chinese firm to divest TikTok: reports


Washington (AFP)

President Donald Trump was preparing an order requiring the fast-growing social media app TikTok to be divested from its Chinese parent firm on national security grounds, media reports said Friday.

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported Trump was set to order the sale of TikTok's US operations by China-based Bytedance amid concerns the service could be used for Chinese intelligence.

Other reports including one from Fox News said Microsoft was in talks to acquire TikTok, which could be valued in the tens of billions of dollars.

The move comes following a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which investigates deals affecting US national security.

Neither TikTok nor Microsoft had any immediate comment.

TikTok, which has become wildly popular, especially with young audiences viewing its short-form videos, has an estimated billion users worldwide.

Trump told reporters some action was pending on TikTok but offered no specifics.

"We're looking at Tiktok. We may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things," he said.

"There are a couple of options, but a lot of things are happening."

US officials and lawmakers in recent weeks have raised concerns about the potential for TikTok being used by China for nefarious purposed, but the company has denied any links to the Beijing government.

TikTok this week pledged a high level of transparency, including allowing reviews of its algorithms, to assure users and regulators.

"We are not political, we do not accept political advertising and have no agenda -- our only objective is to remain a vibrant, dynamic platform for everyone to enjoy," TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said in post this week.

"TikTok has become the latest target, but we are not the enemy."