TikTok might just survive in the United States after all.
On Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that forces China’s ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, to sell or spin off its business in the United States in the next 90 days. Reported by CNBC, President Trump says that there is credible evidence that the company could take actions that would threaten the national security of the country, but has not provided any evidence to back up those claims yet.
“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in his order.
The new executive order buys time for TikTok in the United States. The previous executive order that Trump issued last week banned transactions with Chinese owners of TikTok and WeChat, a move that effectively banned the popular social media app in the country in 45 days. The new order also orders ByteDance to, regardless of if it is able to divest in its business in the U.S., to destroy any data tied to users from the country.
Under the latest order, ByteDance is expected to destroy all its copies of TikTok data attached to U.S. users, and inform the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when it has destroyed all that data.
ByteDance responded to the new order with a statement that highlights the app’s popularity in the country.
“As we’ve said previously, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection. We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”
Microsoft is still rumored to be the most likely bidder that could acquire TikTok’s business in the United States. According to the report, the deal could be worth up to $30 billion.
Microsoft confirmed that it has held talks with ByteDance to buy its business in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company is seen as the leading bidder, and the estimated worth of such a deal falls between $10 billion and $30 billion.
If ByteDance only divests of its TikTok business in the United States, it would result in a split experience between users in some countries as opposed to others.