President Trump orders ByteDance to exit US TikTok business within 90 days

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TikTok logos can be seen on smartphones in front of a ByteDance logo displayed in this illustration taken on November 27, 2019.In view of Ruvic | Reuters

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Friday that will require Chinese company ByteDance to sell or dispose of its US TikTok business within 90 days.“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance… could take action that threatens to undermine the national security of the United States,” Trump said in his order.

The order was seen as good news for TikTok – a hugely popular abbreviated video sharing app – and its future in the United States, at least compared to an earlier version of Trump last week. The previous executive order could have forced US-based app stores to stop distributing the TikTok app if ByteDance couldn’t come to an agreement to dispose of it within 45 days.

The new order gives ByteDance time to sort out a potential deal for TikTok in the States.

As part of the latest order, ByteDance is expected to destroy all of its copies of TikTok data attached to US users and notify the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) when it has destroyed all of that data.

ByteDance responded to Trump’s latest order with the following statement: “As we said before, TikTok is loved by 100 million Americans because it is a hotbed of entertainment, self-expression and connection. We are committed to continuing to bring joy. to families and meaningful careers to those who have been creating on our platform for many years. ”

According to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday, TikTok apparently collected some of its users’ MAC addresses, which are unique fixed identifiers assigned to mobile phones and other devices connected to the Internet. MAC addresses can be used to track the physical whereabouts of someone using a connected device, even if they’ve turned off all kinds of other ad-related trackers in their phone’s settings.

The report prompted U.S. senators to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate TikTok’s data collection practices.

Microsoft has confirmed that it has had discussions with ByteDance to buy out its operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company is considered the main bidder, and the estimated value of such a deal is between $ 10 billion and $ 30 billion.

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