TikTok, a video-sharing app by the Chinese giant ByteDance had reached great heights across the world. But growing distrust of Chinese companies and potential discrepancies that may creep in related to how TikTok handles user data has attracted negative attention to the app in recent times. What’s more, countries such as India have also ended up banning the app.
At a juncture where even both sides of the political spectrum in the US is growing keen on banning TikTok, the news of Microsoft planning to acquire TikTok took some by surprise. In an interview with the Fox’ “Fox & Friends”, Sen. Josh Hawley voiced several concerns regarding the acquisition.
He said that there wasn’t a lot of clarity surrounding how TikTok handles user data and until the company can guarantee a total separation from China, the acquisition must not go through.
“It’s not so clear to me that this is a good deal for the United States of America. I mean, Microsoft buying TikTok, I don’t know what that means exactly. Does that mean that Microsoft is going to make sure that there is absolutely no Chinese involvement from the Chinese parent company ByteDance in this Microsoft deal?” questioned Senator Hawley.
As long as TikTok is completely out of China’s control and fully under Microsoft after the acquisition, that’s when things may look more acceptable for lawmakers.
“I mean, are they going to rebuild TikTok, are they going to have total control? I’m not clear on any of that. It looks to me like Microsoft is only getting a portion of the company and that the Chinese parent company’s going to continue to maintain some sort of access, maybe share the platform, share the data. None of that’s acceptable, and we’ve got to protect Americans here and Americans’ data security,” Hawley stated.
“I think that unless … we can make absolutely sure that there is total separation between China and TikTok, then yeah, it ought to be banned. I mean, unless we can absolutely see a guarantee that China is not getting some backdoor to TikTok, they’re not running it on the sly, then I think that yeah, it ought to be banned,” said Hawley on an ending note.