Twitter has held preliminary talks on absorbing TikTok’s U.S. operations, becoming the latest possible bidder for the hugely popular short video app that the Trump administration has threatened to ban unless it finds a buyer for its U.S. business, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Sources told the media outlet that the chances of Twitter pursuing a deal with TikTok remain unclear given that the U.S. social media platform would find it hard to finance an acquisition estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars.
The news comes a week after Microsoft confirmed its intention to purchase TikTok’s businesses in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand from its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance.
Microsoft has been negotiating with ByteDance for weeks and is considered the frontrunner in any possible deal, the Wall Street Journal quoted its sources as saying. But it said that Twitter was likely to face less antitrust scrutiny than Microsoft due to its size comparable to the U.S. software giant.
President Trump has given ByteDance the option of either ceasing to do business in the U.S. or selling TikTok’s U.S. business to a local company by September 15. Last week, the U.S. president issued an executive order that could ban Americans from as yet unspecified transactions with ByteDance.
Meanwhile, TikTok has vowed to take legal action to protect its rights and interests, with a National Public Radio report revealing that the app plans to file a federal lawsuit as soon as Tuesday to challenge President Trump’s executive order as unconstitutional.
The Chinese government has also firmly opposed the executive order. During a regular press conference on Friday, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, slammed the executive order as a symbol of “hegemonic practice”, saying that the U.S. “will only lose its moral high ground with a damaged image and a deficit of trust.”
Washington labels TikTok as a potential national security threat despite providing no evidence indicting that the app has ever handled Americans’ data at the behest of the Chinese government.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (email@example.com)