The owners of TikTok – the video-sharing social media app that has taken the internet by storm in 2020 – have offered to forgo their US stake in the company to avoid a ban in the United States, as reported by Reuters.
Prior to 2019, few in the world had heard of TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) – the Beijing based app that emulates aspects of Vine. However, rapid and exponential growth over the course of 2019 and 2020 saw the app break into the top 10 most downloaded social media apps of the year.
Off the back of TikTok's incredible popularity came a new wave of celebrities, who have amassed millions of followers from the videos they have created. From Charli D'Amelio to Addison Rae, entire brands are being built on the back of TikTok fame.
Despite its incredible popularity, concerns have been growing about the app's use of data, and its origin in the Chinese capital of Beijing. As tensions with China have grown, so have the suspicions of TikTok harvesting user data.
- Read More: Top 20 most followed TikTok accounts
On July 31, the President told reporters he was set to ban TikTok in the United States.
In response to the impending ban, Reuters report that ByteDance, Chinese owners of TikTok, have agreed to sell their stake to US based Microsoft, in the hopes it would avoid a blanket ban in the country.
"Under ByteDance’s new proposal, Microsoft will be in charge of protecting all U.S. user data," Reuters reports. "The plan allows for another U.S. company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the United States, the sources added."
There have been rumors that Microsoft were set to purchase TikTok and launch a spin-off, in order to prevent it from being banned entirely. However, the President is said to have opposed that possibility as well, at least according to New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman.
Pool report via main print pooler David Cloud/LAT pic.twitter.com/RDV8LjnLLQ
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 1, 2020
It remains unclear whether TikTok would be able to remain in the US if it was owned by a different company, but it's appears that ByteDance are eager to protect TikTok's future, even if it means compromising their own involvement in the app.
Paired with the news, TikTok's official US Twitter account released a video on August 1 describing the jobs it brings to the nation, as well as the joy and livelihoods it has provided for millions.
A message to the TikTok community. pic.twitter.com/UD3TR2HfEf
— TikTok (@tiktok_us) August 1, 2020
Only time will tell where the future of TikTok and its creators will lie, but we'll be the first to update you as the situation becomes clearer.