The only thing more bizarre than TikTok content, is the story that has been unfolding since the weekend.

In case you missed it, US President Donald Trump announced that the USA would ban TikTok at the weekend.

This prompted Microsoft to announce that it was pursuing an acquisition of TikTok on Monday.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the Redmond software giant said in a statement.

But now the story has taken an even more bizarre turn.

During a roundtable on Monday, Trump discussed the potential acquisition of TikTok by a US firm, but then added that the firm should pay the US government because the US government allowed this deal to happen.

“I did say that if you buy it, whatever the price is, that goes to whoever owns it, because I guess it’s China, essentially, but more than anything else, I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States. Because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen. Right now they don’t have any rights, unless we give it to ’em. So if we’re going to give them the rights, then it has to come into, it has to come into this country,” said Trump.

We need a moment to digest this.

So Trump announces he wants to ban TikTok, to the disapproval of some 500 million users. A company then offers to buy TikTok to allay the fears US lawmakers have regarding the app (many of which are unproven) and then those same lawmakers want a slice of the pie they forced a firm to make.

Did we get that right?

This is just bizarre and while we understand there are taxes and other costs, Trump appears to be looking for a separate payment to Treasury for this deal.

One has to stop and wonder whether there are any legal implications to this or more importantly whether a president should be encouraging firms to acquire other firms.

It’s just bizarre and given that we’re in 2020 where bizarre is a daily occurrence, that’s saying something.

Regardless of whether Microsoft will pay the US government or not, it has until 15th September to shore up a deal with ByteDance, the firm behind TikTok.

On that note, we’d sure love to know what ByteDance makes of all this given how quiet it has been since Trump’s sights were trained on the firm.

As we said, the only thing more bizarre than TikTok’s content is this story.

[Source – TechCrunch]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.