Microsoft is gearing up to buy TikTok’s Australian operations, as politicians at home and abroad express serious concerns over the app’s data security and alleged susceptibility to the Chinese Government.

In an official blog, the American tech giant said CEO Satya Nadella spoke with US President Donald Trump about the proposed purchase of TikTok in America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The announcement comes just two days after Trump signalled he wanted to ban TikTok in the US altogether, with American officials claiming the app poses a threat to national security. 

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns,” the statement says, adding that TikTok would be subjected to a “complete security review” before purchase.

“The operating model for the service would be built to ensure transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries,” the company said.

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TikTok is also under immense scrutiny in Australia, and statements from some senior pollies last month led some users to believe a ban was imminent.

Lee Hunter, the company’s Australian manager, has denied any shady practices and refuted claims TikTok shares Aussie user data with the Chinese Government.

Regardless, a Senate committee has called on TikTok representatives to explain what’s going on with the app. TikTok Australia says it will send representatives to the public committee hearing later this month.

Microsoft is set to negotiate with TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, with discussions coming to an end by September 15, 2020.

While we wait for more news about TikTok’s potential sale, feel free to imagine how much Microsoft is willing to shell out for the app. I am picturing eleven digits, at the bare minimum.

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Image: Charles O'Rear / Microsoft / @sweetboyhole / TikTok