Here’s How Microsoft’s New TikTok App Would (Probably) Work

Here’s How Microsoft’s New TikTok App Would (Probably) Work

Get ready for a new TikTok platform. When President Trump suddenly announced that he intended to ban TikTok in the United States last week, all hell broke loose.

When President Trump suddenly announced that he intended to ban TikTok in the United States last week, all hell broke loose. Fearing they’d be cut off from their fans, TikTok users started posting farewell videos, and brands began backing away from the platform, fearing government backlash.

Now, it seems the app will be spared the ax thanks to a timely acquisition, reportedly by Microsoft. The company promised on Sunday that, if a deal goes through, it will transfer all private data on American users to the United States and keep it here. Microsoft would also be responsible for TikTok’s operations in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

This all raises one key question: How would any of this actually work? There are three distinct possibilities.

1. TikTok silos

One of the most obvious ways forward would be for Microsoft to create a spinoff of the app that only works in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, effectively walling users off from other versions (like the Irish and U.K. entities, for example).

The app could still appear as “TikTok” in app stores and operate the same, with Microsoft invisibly assuming development of the app in those markets. But, when users are in one of the five countries Microsoft has control over, they can only see or interact with users in those places; a user in the U.K., for example, might not be able to see a New Zealand user’s profile or content because the U.K. version remains under the control of ByteDance.

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