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  • Writer's pictureRoundabout team

TikTok now in the sights of software giant Oracle

Oracle is reportedly going up against Microsoft and others in the battle to acquire the U.S. operations of popular video-sharing app TikTok.

The software giant has held preliminary talks with China-based ByteDance — TikTok’s parent company — people with knowledge of the discussions told the Financial Times (FT).

TikTok is looking to ensure its ongoing presence in the U.S. after President Trump issued an executive order earlier this month threatening to shutter the app unless it sold its U.S. operations to an American company by September 20, though this deadline was recently extended to November 12. Trump considers the app a threat to national security, accusing it of capturing user data that could ultimately be used by the Chinese government for nefarious purposes. TikTok has always insisted this could never happen.

As per the FT, Oracle is “seriously considering purchasing the app’s operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.” The Silicon Valley-based company has reportedly been working with a group of American investors who already own a stake in ByteDance, including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, the sources said.

Up until now, Microsoft has been considered the frontrunner in the race to ink a deal for TikTok’s U.S. operations, though a report last week suggested technical challenges could derail any potential deal. Twitter is also said to be interested, though there are questions over the social media company’s ability to secure a deal financially.

President Trump’s executive order said that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.”

It added that if the Chinese government got hold of TikTok’s data, it could potentially allow it to “track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

The document also said that TikTok “reportedly censors content” that the Chinese government considers to be politically sensitive, and said the app “may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party.”

In response, TikTok said it was “shocked” at the order, adding that it has “never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request.” This week it launched an online hub to communicate its side of the argument more effectively.

Digital Trends has reached out to Oracle for confirmation on its reported bid to acquire the U.S. operations of TikTok and we will update this piece when we hear back.

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