Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump "has a deal on his desk," whereby Microsoft would lead an acquisition of 100% of the U.S. operations of TikTok, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Why it matters: Trump Friday night said he plans to ban TikTok, as India has done, over concerns that the app could be sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government.

What we know: U.S. presidents don't typically have approval or veto power over merger agreements. But this situation is different because of the involvement of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which has been reviewing ByteDance's 2017 acquisition of U.S. app Musical.ly and eventually merged with TikTok.

What we don't know: It is unclear whether the Microsoft offer involves participation in ByteDance from U.S.-based venture capital investors, some of which reportedly have had interest in helping carve 0ut TikTok.

  • It also remains uncertain exactly what Trump's "ban" threat entails, or under what legal argument he'd block a Microsoft acquisition.

My thought bubble: Microsoft was not among the Big Tech companies called to testify earlier this week in front of a House committee focused on antitrust, thus perhaps giving it more acquisition flexibility than a more natural TikTok owner like Facebook or Google.

Go deeper

TikTok tightens misinformation rules before 2020 election

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

TikTok announced new rules for its users on Wednesday to curb misinformation and manipulation ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The Chinese-owned karaoke app aims to show that its platform won't be vulnerable to election-related mischief and malice, as it weighs a deal to sell itself to Microsoft to forestall a ban by the Trump Administration.

TikTok sale drama clouds the app's genuine security concerns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Political and economic motivations behind a sale or shutdown of TikTok in the U.S. are obscuring sincere security concerns raised by the rise of the Chinese-owned social video app.

The big picture: U.S. intelligence officials evince deep worry over Chinese companies’ ability to resist Beijing’s demands for data.

Facebook launches its TikTok rival, Instagram Reels

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook-owned Instagram on Wednesday launched its answer to the popular karaoke app TikTok, whose future remains in limbo.

The big picture: Facebook has a long record — sometimes successful, sometimes not — of adopting features that have proven popular on rival platforms and rolling them out to its billions of users worldwide in an effort to avoid being eclipsed by younger upstarts.