TikTok parent companyByteDance Ltd. is exploring all possibilities and working around the clock to resolve its intensifying confrontation with U.S. authorities, Chief Executive Officer Zhang Yiming told employees in a letter.
Beijing-based ByteDance has come under pressure from the White House and U.S. lawmakers to sell off its U.S. TikTok operations and now has a 45-day deadline onnegotiations with Microsoft Corp. over such a deal. The company had tried to appease regulators — who worry about its data collection and potential connection to the Chinese government — by distancing its domestic operations from the popular video app, hiring nearly a thousand staff in the U.S. and appointing Walt Disney Co. veteran Kevin Mayer as TikTok CEO.
Read more:With Deadline Set, Microsoft, ByteDance Still Have to Talk Price
As TikTok surged to global popularity, American officials began calling for a national security investigation into the app. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which investigates overseas acquisitions of U.S. businesses, last year opened a review of the Musical.ly purchase that led to TikTok’s creation.
“Even though we’ve repeatedly stressed that we’re a privately-run business, and despite our willingness to adopt even more technical solutions to allay their concerns, CFIUS still believes ByteDance has to sell the TikTok U.S. operation. We do not agree with this decision,” Zhang wrote. “We’ve always firmly protected the security of users’ data, the platform’s independence and transparency.”
Acknowledging that ByteDance is in negotiations with another tech firm, without naming Microsoft directly, the CEO wrote that the company is still engaged in internal discussions and no final decisions have been made. “The attention of the outside world and rumors around TikTok might last for a while,” Zhang said.
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