(Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday called for an American company to purchase Chinese-owned video app TikTok in order to protect users’ data, saying “a safe way must be found for TikTok to continue.”
“A U.S. company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe,” Schumer said on Twitter, adding: “This is about privacy. With TikTok in China, it’s subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government.”
Microsoft said Sunday that CEO Satya Nadella had spoken to President Donald Trump, and “is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.”
Microsoft and TikTok parent ByteDance provided notice of intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets.
Trump agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft, three people familiar with the matter said Sunday.
U.S. officials have said TikTok poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump said on Friday he was planning to ban TikTok in the United States after dismissing a possible sale to Microsoft.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro suggested on Monday that Microsoft could divest its holdings in China if it were to buy TikTok.
“So the question is, is Microsoft going to be compromised?” Navarro said in an interview with CNN. “Maybe Microsoft could divest its Chinese holdings?”
Microsoft did not comment.
Separately, a group of House Republicans on Monday asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a classified briefing on TikTok and other technology companies with alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party.