Oracle's bid for Chinese-owned TikTok 'falls short of approval'

BREAKING NEWS: Oracle’s bid to serve as the ‘trusted technology provider’ of Chinese-owned TikTok ‘falls short of addressing Trump’s national security concerns’

  • Trump national security advisors still reportedly have concerns about the deal
  • Oracle proposed something less than an outright acquisition of TikTok
  • Chinese ByteDance proposed Oracle as its ‘trusted technology provider’
  • But several Republican senators pushed back on that proposal 
  • China has updated its export controls to ban foreign sale of TikTok’s algorithm
  • If a deal fails to gain approval, Trump has vowed to ban TikTok in the US 

Oracle’s bid to buy TikTok from Chinese parent ByteDance has reportedly fallen short of requirements from the Trump administration to resolve concerns that the video-sharing app represents a national security concern.

The proposed deal has drawn continuing concerns from national security officials that could sway President Donald Trump’s decision, people familiar with the deal told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. 

Oracle announced on Monday it was part of a proposal submitted by Bytedance to the U.S. Treasury Department to serve as ‘trusted technology provider,’ to Bytedance, providing no further details on the terms of the deal. 

The Trump administration will make a decision soon on the proposed deal, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Wednesday.

Oracle’s bid to buy TikTok from Chinese parent ByteDance has reportedly fallen short of requirements from the Trump administration to resolve national security concerns

‘We’ll have a decision here in short order,’ McEnany said. ‘I don’t want to get ahead of the president but obviously we care deeply about protecting the data and security of American citizens.’

Marco Rubio and five other Republican senators have called on the Trump administration to reject the deal if ties to Chinese owner Bytedance remain.

Rubio, the first senator to call on the administration to investigate TikTok over censorship concerns, said in the letter to Trump that ‘serious questions’ remained about Oracle’s role, the technology it would provide to Bytedance, and the future of the application’s algorithm.

‘We remain opposed to any deal that would allow China-based or controlled entities to retain, control or modify the code or algorithms that operate any U.S.-based version of TikTok,’ Rubio wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.

‘We are heartened that this deal still requires government approval, and if reports indicating this proposed deal will retain links to ByteDance or other Chinese-controlled entities, we strongly urge the administration to reject such a proposal on national security grounds,’ he added.

The letter, also signed by Senators Thom Tillis, Rick Scott, John Cornyn, Roger Wicker and Dan Sullivan, is part of a growing chorus of lawmakers raising questions about the deal.

Trump has also said he is a fan of Oracle’s co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison (above), one of few tech executives to openly support the Republican President

On Monday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who heads a national security panel reviewing the proposal, calling for the deal to be scuttled, if it does not allow for the ‘full emancipation of TikTok software from potential Chinese Communist Part control.’

It is unclear what President Trump will do. White House adviser Jared Kushner on Tuesday said the White House is reviewing Oracle’s bid and a Senior Administration official said a decision had not yet been made.

Trump had previously made clear he sought a full-scale sale of the app to an American technology company, amid concerns among national security officials that Bytedance could provide American user data to the Chinese government. 

However, Trump may not want to alienate 100 million-odd American TikTok users weeks before a hotly-contested presidential election.

Trump has also said he is a fan of Oracle’s co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison, one of few tech executives to openly support the Republican President.

Meanwhile, China has updated its export control rules to give it a say over the transfer of technology, such as TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, to a foreign buyer. Chinese officials have said ByteDance should not be coerced by the United States into a deal. 

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