02 August 2020
Bill Gates is negotiating with the creators of TikTok to buy the platform in what is sure to be a multimillion-dollar deal.
The news comes after U.S. President, Donald Trump, said he was in the process of issuing an executive order that bans TikTok from operating in the U.S. – citing the Chinese company’s control over U.S. data as a security risk.
However, ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, has adamantly rejected accusations that they supply U.S. data to Chinese authorities.
Under the deal with Microsoft, Microsoft Corp. would be responsible for the data protection of all U.S. TikTok users. At the same time, another U.S. company would operate the TikTok platform.
The short-video-sharing app is worth $75 billion as of July 2020, with its primary demographic being the Gen-Z population (16-24). Older audiences, however, are quickly adopting the social media platform as well.
Founded in 2016, TikTok has amassed over 1 billion users and was the second most downloaded app last year, losing out to only WhatsApp.
Whether you use the platform or not, you’ve almost certainly seen short videos reposted on other social media forums that came from TikTok. The site’s primary use is creating and uploading 15 second lip-syncing and dance videos, as well as other short comedic skits.
Microsoft’s acquisition of the popular platform would make it the company’s second social media venture – the first is LinkedIn, which they purchased in 2016.
ByteDance agreed to divest its U.S. operations entirely if that would convince the White House to retract its threat of banning the platform. The White House did not comment when asked about the Microsoft deal.
TikTok has seventy million active monthly has users are from the U.S., and revenues in the U.S. alone were estimated at $500 million for 2020.