Microsoft may buy TikTok as the US moves to ban the app due to security concerns

  • As the US moves to ban popular social media app TikTok due to security concerns, Microsoft has stepped in with an offer to potentially buy the app's US operations

    Popular social media app TikTok has been in the crosshairs of security researchers in recent months as several claims emerged that the app is aggressively harvesting user data. A member of a Reddit community dedicated to reverse-engineering the app's activity reported three months ago that the app collects information on your phone hardware, other apps you have installed, information on your local network, and GPS location data.

    One of worst issues they claimed to have discovered was that the app sets up a local proxy server on your phone that has no authentication and could potentially be misused by an attacker. They even reportedly found evidence that the app's data collection could be turned on and off again by a remote server so that it goes unnoticed, and that the app's behaviour changes when it's being debugged.

    The issue became a political hot-button in the US recently as the data is being collected by TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance and the US has been imposing a ban on US tech firms working with Chinese firms. With the app potentially about to be banned in the US, Microsoft has stepped in with an offer to buy the app to distribute in the US.

    TikTok has grown rapidly outside of China and is now estimated to be worth somewhere in the region of $15-30 billion US, with over 50 million daily active users in the US alone. Its US-based business also operates into Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and revenue from advertising on the US service could be worth $500m per year. Negotiations on the purchase have been complicated by US president Donald Trump reportedly demanding that the US treasury should get a cut of the private sale deal.

    Source: Financial Times, BBC News

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story