Talks between Microsoft and TikTok parent company ByteDance are put on hold after President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to the deal late Friday.
Both parties reportedly do not plan to end the deal, but are “looking for clarity” on the White House position on such a deal.
China’s ByteDance has agreed to turn over its TikTok US operations to Microsoft, and the latter would take over stewardship of the data of U.S.-based users.
The deal would allow the service to continue to operate in the US, and would allow another company apart from Microsoft to operate TikTok.
The terms of the deal mean that Microsoft would be in charge of protecting US-based users’ data, while another US-based company would be operating TikTok in the country.
TikTok has employed almost 1,000 people in the US this year, and was planning to hire another 10,000 into “great paying jobs.”
“TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access,” the company’s spokeperson said.
“TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety.”
However, the President said that he was about to sign an executive order banning the Chinese-owned app to operate within the US.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said, stressing that the ban will apply “soon, immediately.”
The President claims that he has the authority to ban the app through an executive order or under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
The ban is the latest blow by the administration to weaken China’s power in global technology, as TikTok has become one of the world’s most popular apps, being downloaded more than 2 billion times globally and more than 165 million times in the US.
White House adviser Peter Navarro said earlier in July that should an American company chooses to buy TikTok, the move would not address the US’ concerns.