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With US Takeover Deadline Looming, Reports Suggest China Would Prefer to See TikTok Shut Down



with us takeover deadline looming reports suggest china would prefer to see tiktok shut down

With the US Government’s deadline for the sell-off of TikTok looming, a new report has suggested that the Chinese Government would actually prefer to see the app shut down, as opposed to being sold into US ownership.

The TikTok negotiations, in which Microsoft is still seemingly the lead bidder, have been thrown into disarray in the last week after the Chinese Government announced new regulations which restrict the sale of technological advancements – including algorithms – within foreign trade deals.

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has been in negotiations with Chinese and US officials as it seeks to find a way beyond the current impasse – but according to a new report from Reuters, the new Chinese regulations may actually be part of Beijing’s broader opposition to a sell-off of the app.

As per Reuters:

Chinese officials believe a forced sale would make both ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure from Washington, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.”

Indeed, this has been one of the key risks in the process all along – very early on, when US President Donald Trump first announced his coming Executive Order which would force TikTok’s sale, reports suggested that Chinese officials were furious at Trump’s action, which essentially holds a Chinese company, in ByteDance, to ransom over the app. 

This element is also a risk for Microsoft, or any company bidding for the platform, with respect to its future in China, with reports also suggesting that any such deal could lead to further sanctions and punishments in retaliation for the forced sell-off, if it goes ahead. 

But now, it may not even get to that point. If these reports are correct, then China’s ruling CCP will actually push TikTok towards a full ban in the US, rather than let the sale go through.

That is of course, unless negotiators can find another way around, and within that, one option is that TikTok could be sold off without its core algorithms. Which would essentially leave it as just a shell – the bidders would be paying, in the end, for the TikTok branding and that’s about it. 

Whether the CCP would allow even that to happen is another question, given the potential concerns over perception. And if they did, why would any company pay for just the basic app, with no tech? Surely TikTok without its systems is not TikTok as we know it.

Apparently, one bidder would, with Triller still interested in buying a hollowed-out TikTok, as per reports. But the price tag, you would think, would have to be significantly lower – and then, what would you really be left with? Would TikTok, the platform, ever be the same if its core algorithms and systems were stripped away?

It’s amazing to consider that a relatively simple, short-form video app is now central to a potential new cold war, with the highest-ranking Chinese and US officials scrutinizing the particulars of any such deal.

How it eventually plays out is anyone’s guess at this stage, but the deadline, as noted, is closing in, which will bring it to a conclusion, one way or another, very soon.

How soon exactly?

To clarify, in his original statement on the coming ban, US President Donald Trump noted that TikTok had till September 15th to be sold off to a US company, or face a ban in the US. This was before Trump had signed the official Executive Order on the process, which was eventually signed on August 6th. Within that document, it states that the sale needs to happen “beginning 45 days after the date of this order”. That actually, officially, puts the final date at September 20th, five days longer than the initial announcement.

Shortly after this, however, another EO came from the White House which gave ByteDance 90 days to divest its purchase of, the app that eventually became TikTok in the US. That order also directs ByteDance to destroy any US user data – though it’s not entirely clear how the two orders overlap. 

So, does ByteDance have till September 20th or November 12th? Honestly, it’s a little hard to tell based on the seemingly contradictory documents – but what is fairly definitive is that President Trump will be pushing for a deal within the next week.

As per President Trump on Thursday:

“We’ll either close up TikTok in this country for security reasons or it’ll be sold. I’m not extending deadlines, no, it’s September 15th – there’ll be no extension of the TikTok deadline.”

So, pretty clear, right? Crystal?

Technicalities aside, it does seem like we’ll see the next stage of the TikTok sell-off – whatever that may look like – early next week. That could result in a transfer to Microsoft, or another consortium bid. Or it could kick off a new round of international trade sanctions. 

The stakes are indeed extremely high, and while it may seem to many that TikTok is a mostly frivolous, fun app where young people engage in the latest viral dance trends, symbolically, it could end up being a lot more.  

And yes, it could be banned outright. The blocking of TikTok in the US, as has already happened in India, remains a very real possibility at this late hour of negotiations.

It’s going to be a tense weekend of negotiations, you’d expect.

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With outburst, Musk puts X’s survival in the balance



Even after Elon Musk gutted the staff by two-thirds, X, formerly Twitter, still has around 2,000 employees, and incurs substantial fixed costs like data servers and real estate

Even after Elon Musk gutted the staff by two-thirds, X, formerly Twitter, still has around 2,000 employees, and incurs substantial fixed costs like data servers and real estate
– Copyright POOL/AFP/File Leon Neal


Elon Musk’s verbal assault on advertisers who have shunned X (formerly Twitter) threatens to sink the social network further, with the tycoon warning of the platform’s demise, just one year after taking control.

“If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, go fuck yourself,” a visibly furious Musk told an interviewer in New York in front of an audience of the US business elite this week.

Musk was lashing out at the advertisers who had abandoned his platform after Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog group, warned big companies that their ads were running aside posts by neo-Nazis.

Walmart on Friday was the latest to join the exodus, following the footsteps of IBM, Disney, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Lionsgate and others.

The latest controversy broke earlier this month when Musk declared a tweet exposing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory as the “absolute truth.”

Musk apologized for his tweet, even taking a trip to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but on Wednesday he targeted his anger squarely at advertisers.

“It doesn’t take a social media expert to know that publicly and personally attacking the people in companies that pay X’s bills is not going to be good for business,” said analyst Jasmine Enberg of Insider Intelligence.

“Most advertiser boycotts on social media companies, including X, have been short lived. There’s a potential for this one to be longer,” she added.

Musk said the survival of X could be at stake.

“What this advertising boycott is going to do is kill the company,” Musk said.

“Everybody will know” that advertisers were those responsible, he angrily added.

– Bankruptcy looms? –

Even before the latest bust up, Insider Intelligence was forecasting a 54-percent contraction in ad sales, to $1.9 billion this year.

“The advertising exodus at X could accelerate with Musk not playing nice in the sandbox,” said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities.

According to data provided to AFP by market data analysis company SensorTower, as many as half of the social network’s top 100 US advertisers in October 2022 have already stopped spending altogether.

But by dropping X, “you are opening yourself up for competitors to step into your territory,” warned Kellis Landrum, co-founder of digital marketing agency True North Social.

Advertisers may also choose to stay for lack of an equivalent alternative.

Meta’s new Threads platform and other upstarts have yet to prove worthy adversaries for the time being, Landrum argued.

Analyst Enberg insisted that “X is not an essential platform for many advertisers, so withdrawing temporarily tends to be a pretty painless decision.”

Privately held, X does not release official figures, but all estimates point to a significant drop in the number of users.

SensorTower puts the annual fall at 45 percent for monthly users at the start of the fourth quarter, compared with the same period last year.

Added to this is the disengagement of dozens of highly followed accounts, including major brands such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Bank and Starbucks as well as many celebrities and media personalities that have stopped or reduced usage.

The corporate big names haven’t posted any content for weeks, when they used to be an everyday presence.

None of the dozen or so companies contacted by AFP responded to requests for comments.

In normal conditions, Twitter or X “was always much larger than its ad dollars,” said Enberg.

It was “an important place for brands and companies to connect with consumers and customers,” she said.

Even after Musk gutted the staff by two-thirds, X still has around 2,000 employees, and incurs substantial fixed costs like data servers and real estate.

Another threat is the colossal debt contracted by Musk for his acquisition, but now carried by X, which must meet a payment of over a billion dollars each year.

In his tense interview on Wednesday, Musk hinted that he would not come to the rescue if the coffers run dry, even if he has ample means to do so.

“If the company fails… it will fail because of an advertiser boycott and that will bankrupt the company,” Musk said.

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Walmart says it has stopped advertising on Elon Musk’s X platform



Walmart says it has stopped advertising on Elon Musk's X platform

Walmart said Friday that it is scaling back its advertising on X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, because “we’ve found some other platforms better for reaching our customers.”

Walmart’s decision has been in the works for a while, according to a person familiar with the move. Yet it comes as X faces an advertiser exodus following billionaire owner Elon Musk’s support for an antisemitic post on the platform. 

The retailer spends about $2.7 billion on advertising each year, according to MarketingDive. In an email to CBS MoneyWatch, X’s head of operations, Joe Benarroch, said Walmart still has a large presence on X. He added that the company stopped advertising on X in October, “so this is not a recent pausing.”

“Walmart has a wonderful community of more than a million people on X, and with a half a billion people on X, every year the platform experiences 15 billion impressions about the holidays alone with more than 50% of X users doing most or all of their shopping online,” Benarroch said.

Musk struck a defiant pose earlier this week at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit, where he cursed out advertisers that had distanced themselves from X, telling them to “go f— yourself.” He also complained that companies are trying to “blackmail me with advertising” by cutting off their spending with the platform, and cautioned that the loss of big advertisers could “kill” X.

“And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company,” Musk added.

Elon Musk faces backlash from lawmakers, companies over endorsement of antisemitic X post


Dozens of advertisers — including players such as Apple, Coca Cola and Disney — have bailed on X since Musk tweeted that a post on the platform that claimed Jews fomented hatred against White people, echoing antisemitic stereotypes, was “the actual truth.”

Advertisers generally shy away from placing their brands and marketing messages next to controversial material, for fear that their image with consumers could get tarnished by incendiary content. 

The loss of major advertisers could deprive X of up to $75 million in revenue, according to a New York Times report

Musk said Wednesday his support of the antisemitic post was “one of the most foolish” he’d ever posted on X. 

“I am quite sorry,” he said, adding “I should in retrospect not have replied to that particular post.”

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US Judge Blocks Montana’s Effort to Ban TikTok



U.S. Judge Blocks Montana’s Effort to Ban TikTok in the State

TikTok has won another reprieve in the U.S., with a district judge blocking Montana’s effort to ban the app for all users in the state.

Back in May, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation to ban TikTok outright from operating in the state, in order to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by China. There’s no definitive evidence that TikTok is, or has participated in such, but Gianforte opted to move to a full ban, going further than the government device bans issued in other regions.

As explained by Gianforte at the time:

The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented. Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”

In response, a collection of TikTok users challenged the proposed ban, arguing that it violated their first amendment rights, which led to this latest court challenge, and District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to stop Montana’s ban effort.

Montana’s TikTok ban had been set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

In issuing a preliminary injunction to stop Montana from imposing a full ban on the app, Molloy said that Montana’s legislation does indeed violate the Constitution and “oversteps state power.”

Molloy’s judgment is primarily centered on the fact that Montana has essentially sought to exercise foreign policy authority in enacting a TikTok ban, which is only enforceable by federal authorities. Molloy also noted that there was apervasive undertone of anti-Chinese sentiment” within Montana’s proposed legislation.

TikTok has welcomed the ruling, issuing a brief statement in response:

Montana attorney general, meanwhile, has said that it’s considering next steps to advance its proposed TikTok ban.

The news is a win for TikTok, though the Biden Administration is still weighing a full TikTok ban in the U.S., which may still happen, even though the process has been delayed by legal and legislative challenges.

As I’ve noted previously, my sense here would be that TikTok won’t be banned in the U.S. unless there’s a significant shift in U.S.-China relations, and that relationship is always somewhat tense, and volatile to a degree.

If the U.S. government has new reason to be concerned, it may well move to ban the app. But doing so would be a significant step, and would prompt further response from the C.C.P.

Which is why I suspect that the U.S. government won’t act, unless it feels that it has to. And right now, there’s no clear impetus to implement a ban, and stop a Chinese-owned company from operating in the region, purely because of its origin.

Which is the real crux of the issue here. A TikTok ban is not just banning a social media company, it’s blocking cross-border commerce, because the company is owned by China, which will remain the logic unless clear evidence arises that TikTok has been used as a vector for gathering information on U.S. citizens.

Banning a Chinese-owned app because it is Chinese-owned is a statement, beyond concerns about a social app, and the U.S. is right to tread carefully in considering how such a move might impact other industries.

So right now, TikTok is not going to be banned, in Montana, or anywhere else in the U.S. But that could still change, very quickly.

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