Trump approves TikTok-Oracle deal, he says


Angela Lang/CNET

President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has OK’d “in concept” a deal for Oracle to acquire the US operations of popular video app TikTok, says a Bloomberg report. Trump had earlier cited national security concerns in issuing a pair of executive orders that say TikTok will be banned in the states unless such a deal goes through. A ban on US downloads of the app is set to go into effect Sunday.

The Trump administration has said it’s concerned about the TikTok app because the app collects data on its US users and TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance — a Chinese firm — could be compelled by China’s communist government to share that information. TikTok has repeatedly said such concerns are baseless.

On his way to a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump told reporters that he had given the TikTok-Oracle deal “my blessing,” Bloomberg reported. The news outlet noted that for the deal to be finalized, China’s government would have to sign off on it. Chinese officials have indicated that the government is willing to approve an agreement so long as ByteDance doesn’t have to give up the artificial intelligence algorithms behind the TikTok app.

The agreement has Bytedance retaining a majority of TikTok’s assets and control over the app’s algorithm, and Oracle and other US investors taking minority stakes, Bloomberg said.

“Oracle will get full access to review TikTok’s source code and updates to make sure there are no back doors used by the company’s Chinese parent to gather data or to spy on the video-sharing app’s 100 million American users,” Bloomberg reported, citing information from unnamed sources.

On Friday, Trump told Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison that he still expects the US government to get a cash payment as part of the sale, Bloomberg reported, adding that it’s unclear how that would come about.

Trump said the new company, TikTok Global, will probably be based in Texas and hire as many as 25,000 people, Bloomberg reported.

Requests for comment didn’t immediately receive responses from the White House, ByteDance, TikTok or Oracle.

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