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White House Considers Fresh Oracle-Bytedance Deal

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Oracle and the Chinese company ByteDance have tentatively agreed to terms with the U.S. Treasury Department in the former’s bid to purchase the U.S. operations of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance. 

Earlier this week, Oracle and ByteDance agreed to a “technical partnership” which would keep ByteDance as the majority owner of TikTok, but would give Oracle a minority stake as well as control over user data and the power to review TikTok’s code for security.

Under the U.S. Treasury’s revised terms, TikTok’s board of directors would have to consist solely of U.S. citizens and would also include a national security committee that would work with the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment to deal with any security concerns. 

Walmart, which had previously expressed interest in purchasing the app through its partnership with Microsoft, said it was still interested in investing in the company.

Security concerns. In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders banning the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat over national security concerns. 

The U.S. government and some U.S. politicians have warned about the danger posed by TikTok. Several cybersecurity experts said it could pose a risk if ByteDance chose to share the data it collects with the Chinese government. 

The ban on TikTok is due to go into effect on Sept. 20.

Will Trump approve? White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, who has some influence over Trump’s decision making, has not commented on the new terms, although he previously expressed strong approval for Oracle’s bid to buy TikTok. 

The deal ultimately needs to be approved by Trump. On Wednesday, the U.S. president said that he wasn’t happy about the reports he was hearing regarding the proposed partnership and that he would prefer to see a deal that did not leave ByteDance as a majority owner, which the current terms allow.

Courtesy – ( Foreign Policy)

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