For my new gig at Lifewire, I wrote about Trump’s TikTok “ban,” and Microsoft’s weird offer to buy it. What the hell is going on?
At the end of last week, President Trump threatened to ban the TikTok video-sharing service, although the mechanics of such a shutdown are vague. It could mean an outright ban on the app’s existence in the U.S., or it could have meant a forced sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations. Then, Microsoft stepped in and announced that it intended to buy the U.S. division of TikTok from ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns it. That would seem to be an end to the problem. Trump makes a fuss, an American company swoops in to clean things up, and everybody is happy.
But then things started to get weird.