The Chinese owner of TikTok was last night scrambling to sell the viral video app to Microsoft after Donald Trump pledged to ban the platform in the United States.
ByteDance, one of China’s biggest tech companies, has agreed to offload the social media platform’s US operations in a bid to save a deal with the White House, Reuters reported.
The Chinese firm had been keen to retain a minority stake in the business but was forced to take swift action after the US president pledged to ban TikTok from the US over security concerns.
The video-sharing app, which claims to have 100 million American users, has been the subject of fears the Chinese state could exploit its data for intelligence purposes.
The president said on Friday night: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.”
Mr Trump said he would sign an executive order on Saturday.
The move adds further strain to US-China relations amid an ongoing row over the potential national security threat posed to the US by telecoms firm Huawei.
A TikTok spokesman said the firm was committed to protecting users’ privacy.
She said: “TikTok US user data are stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US.”