Republican senators back plan to sell TikTok’s US operations

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta
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Two Republican senators have backed plan by Beijing-based ByteDance to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok following president Trump’s threat on Friday to ban the app in the United States.

Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, while speaking to ABC on Sunday August 2, 2020, said that the Committee on Foreign Investment on the United States had agreed that TikTok app cannot continue to enjoy its current status because it would mean that the country is taking risk to comprise information of about 100 million Americans who use the app.

He added that U.S. congressional leaders have reached consensus that there must be a change to the way the app operates.

It is said that two options could work in this situation; either the president forces its sale or uses International Emergency Economic Powers Act to block the app.

Similarly, a Texas Republican Senator, John Cornyn, tweeted on Sunday saying the prospect of divesting the app and purchasing by U.S a company is win-win.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, giving his opinion on what he considered the right step to take regarding TikTok issue, said on Saturday that “Right answer” to address security concerns about TikTok would be to “have an American company like Microsoft take over TikTok. Win-win. Keeps competition alive and data out of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Meanwhile, Bytedance had earlier decided to forego control of the short video app to strike a deal with the U.S. government.

The company had earlier proposed that it enjoys a minority stake in the U.S TikTok business, but this was turned by the government.

The new deal would require Bytedance to forgo control of TikTok U.S. to the United States, while Microsoft would take control over TikTok’s U.S. user data, according to sources.

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