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Emily Wong

Published on

August 14, 2020


TikTok, TWIS, twitter

We’ve been talking about TikTok since the beginning of lockdown and the conversation doesn’t seem to stop. From its growing popularity, to its fun initiatives such as #LearnOnTikTok, and their most recent competitor Reels, we’re now getting serious.

In case you haven’t heard already – earlier this month, Donald Trump, signed off an order which called for US firms to stop doing business with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, within 45 days over security concerns. This means, if TikTok doesn’t find a new owner, the app would face a ban in the US – like in India. With about 80 million users on TikTok in the US, the pressure is certainly on for TikTok and its potential new owners.

Microsoft or Twitter, who will win?

Microsoft had already openly voiced its interest in buying TikTok, having been in discussions with ByteDance for weeks. Now, earlier this week, Twitter has also come out as a possible suitor.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it remains unclear whether Twitter can afford to buy TikTok. Microsoft seems to be the front runner for now, as its market capitalisation is at more than $1.6tn (£1.2tn), in comparison to Twitter’s, which is at $29 bn.

Bonus baggage

Whichever company does buy TikTok, however, will have to be prepared to pick up some old baggage along with the large userbase. Alongside the concerns we already knew about, this week reports flagged further concerns around the app. Wall Street Journal reported that TikTok’s Android App collected users’ MAC addresses for 18 months. These addresses are most commonly used for advertising and has potential to allow the app to track users online without allowing them to opt out.

According to the report, TIkTok discontinued the practice in November 2019 and emphasised that the app is constantly updated to keep up with evolving security challenges.

Neither Microsoft of TikTok seem put off by these new findings, and so the race to buy TikTok continues. Who will win? Let’s wait and see.

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