Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration plans to sign an order directing China-based ByteDance to divest its U.S.-based video sharing app TikTok, which is already in talks to be acquired by Microsoft, according to news reports Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. since last year has been reviewing national security risks of ByteDance's control of TikTok, recently valued at $50 billion. This order would require ByteDance to cede majority control of TikTok, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The order could come as early as Friday.

Context: The Trump administration has been casting a cold eye on Chinese companies operating in the U.S., with campaigns aimed at Huawei, ZTE and other technology firms. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that TikTok is a national security risk.

Meanwhile: Microsoft is in talks to potentially buy TikTok, Fox Business' Charles Gasparino and the New York Times reported Friday.

  • Yes, but: The Trump administration is "deeply concerned" about such a deal, Gasparino tweeted, and would vet it extremely closely to ensure TikTok would retain no ties to Chinese investors.

Be smart: In general, Microsoft has been moving away from big consumer businesses, especially ad-funded ones, notes Axios' Ina Fried.

  • But Microsoft isn’t closed to consumer deals, especially if it sees them as foundational and capable of introducing a new generation of tech users to its ecosystem. Consider that the company’s first big acquisition under CEO Satya Nadella was the company behind Minecraft.

Go deeper

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.

TikTok users are rising but time spent on the app is falling

Reproduced from CivicScience; Note: ±3.0% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

TikTok has been all over the news in recent days, as President Trump has put the app squarely in his sights.

The state of play: New CivicScience data provided first to Axios show continued growth in TikTok’s user base since the beginning of the year, with 14% of those surveyed saying they use the app.

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.