US President Donald Trump on Wednesday questioned China’s ByteDance plan to retain a majority stake in popular social media platform TikTok in the US operations after six Republican lawmakers urged him to reject the proposal.
Trump said he will hear a briefing on a proposal on Thursday that requires Oracle to become a “trusted technology provider” for TikTok’s US operations, but he does not approve of the idea of allowing Chinese companies to retain control.
Senator Marco Rubio and five other Republican senators on Wednesday urged the government to reject the deal, as long as they stay in touch with the Chinese owner ByteDance and suggested that the president can block the proposal.
Trump has previously threatened to ban the app unless it sells its US business to a US company and the US government will receive part of the proceeds.
When asked about the proposal to give only a minority stake in Oracle, Trump said at a press conference: “Conceptually, I can tell you that I don’t like that.” “I am not going to sign any agreement. . They will report to me tomorrow morning and I will inform you.”
Rubio was the first TikTok senator to ask the government to investigate the issue of censorship. He pointed out in a letter to Trump on Wednesday that “serious issues” are still about Oracle’s role, which will be provided to ByteDance. Technology and the future of the application algorithm.
He wrote: “We still oppose any transaction that allows China or controlled entities to retain, control or modify the code or algorithm running the American version of TikTok,” he wrote.
He added: “We are encouraged that this transaction still requires government approval. If reports indicate that the proposed transaction will maintain contact with ByteDance or other Chinese controlled entities, we strongly urge the US government to reject this proposal on grounds of national security. “
Late on Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz sent another letter to Trump, stating that the Oracle ByteDance transaction “failed to satisfy the president’s executive order intent” and “caused serious national security. Worry”.
The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, told reporters earlier that he would “make a decision soon.” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that security and ownership issues are the most important issues.
The Rubio letter, also signed by Senators Thom Tillis, Rick Scott, John Cornyn, Roger Wicker and Dan Sullivan, is part of a growing number of Congressmen questioning the deal.
On Monday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the head of the national security team in charge of the proposal, calling on the proposal to “completely seek from potential Chinese If people completely liberate the TikTok software”, the transaction will be cancelled. Communist Party control. “
US national security officials worry that ByteDance can provide the Chinese government with US user data. But Trump may not want to alienate the 100 million American TikTok users who are so close to the November 3 election.
Trump also stated that he is a fan of Oracle co-founder and chairman Larry Ellison (Larry Ellison). Larry Ellison is one of the few technology executives who publicly supports him.
At the same time, China has updated its export control rules in order to transfer technology such as TikTok’s recommendation algorithm to foreign buyers. Chinese officials have said that ByteDance should not be forced by the United States to reach an agreement.
Oracle announced on Monday that this is part of a proposal submitted by ByteDance to the US Department of the Treasury, which is a “trusted technology provider” of ByteDance, but did not provide more details on the terms of the transaction.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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