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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘really worried’ about TikTok ban

  • The parent company behind TikTok is in discussions with Microsoft and other US tech companies about acquiring the viral app’s US operations.
  • Mark Zuckerberg was asked at a recent Facebook all-hands meeting whether the company was interested in acquiring TikTok, BuzzFeed reports. Although Zuckerberg refused to comment on Facebook’s business strategy, he did address Donald Trump’s threatened ban of TikTok in the US.
  • “It’s a really bad long-term precedent, and that it needs to be handled with the utmost care and gravity whatever the solution is,” Zuckerberg reportedly said. “I am really worried…it could very well have long-term consequences in other countries around the world.”
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Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told Facebook employees he’s “really worried” about the implications of a potential US-wide ban on TikTok.

BuzzFeed reports that Zuckerberg addressed TikTok’s “extraordinary circumstance” at a recent-all hands meeting with Facebook employees. Donald Trump recently threatened to ban the viral video-sharing app in the US due to its ties to China, and insists he’ll do so unless a US tech company acquires TikTok’s US operations.

“I just think it’s a really bad long-term precedent, and that it needs to be handled with the utmost care and gravity whatever the solution is,” Zuckerberg reportedly said. “I am really worried…it could very well have long-term consequences in other countries around the world.”

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is scrambling to find a buyer of its operations by Sept. 15. If they don’t meet that deadline, Trump says he’ll instate a nationwide ban on the viral video-sharing app. 

Employees reportedly asked Zuckerberg whether Facebook was interested in acquiring TikTok, but the CEO refused to comment on the company’s business dealings. Reports have recently valued TikTok as a whole between $30 billion and $50 billion, and Microsoft’s portion as between $10 billion and $30 billion.

Microsoft has emerged as the frontrunner in discussions, and has publicly confirmed it’s interested in buying TikTok’s operations in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. 

Since TikTok came to the US in 2018, it’s been a dominant force, outperforming US-based apps that have attracted younger audiences, like Facebook-owned Instagram. A Facebook representative said back in July 2019 that TikTok was one of its main competitors. Since then, Facebook has been working on its own competing feature to take on TikTok. The short-form video-creating format, called Instagram Reels, launched in the US this week as TikTok faces a possible ban.

The Trump administration has been threatening to ban TikTok since early July due to perceived national security risks because of its ties to China through ByteDance, whose headquarters are based in Beijing. Questions have circulated regarding around how much access and influence the Chinese government is afforded over the app’s user data and content moderation, although TikTok has consistently said it wouldn’t share such information if asked.

 

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