Mnuchin Expresses Interest in Buying TikTok

Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin | Image by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Thursday that he was interested in putting together a group to purchase TikTok after the U.S. House passed legislation that would force the sale of or ban the popular app.

“It’s a great business, and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok,” Mnuchin said in an interview. “It’s worth a lot of money.”

Mnuchin said he has seen how much data the app collects, calling it “an awful lot.”

Despite the effort, it is doubtful that ByteDance, the parent company that operates TikTok, would sell the app. China classifies the app as “sensitive technology” and is unlikely to allow the sale. This hurdle highlights the threat legislators see in the social media app and is one of the factors that led to the legislation’s passage in the House, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Mnuchin said he is looking for a solution in which the app could be sold without transferring the source code technology that is at the core of the issue. A technology analyst who spoke with CNN said buying TikTok without the source code was senseless.

“Without the source code, this would be like buying an F1 car without the engine. It would be illogical,” Dan Ives said. He added that the prospect of a sale of the app is likely drawing interest from numerous buyers. He described the situation as “sharks” that see “blood in the water.”

The legislation passed on Wednesday identifies TikTok as a threat to national security because of the amount of personal data it collects. Chinese law requires that any Chinese company must surrender data if ordered to do so. The threat legislators see is that sensitive data on the 170 million American users could be compromised by order of the Chinese Communist Party.

Mnuchin said that TikTok could use American-made technology after the sale to keep it functioning without disrupting the thousands of businesses and influencers that profit from the app. About 50% of users earning money on the app bring in less than $5,000 a year, but a small group of highly influential individuals earn millions. In 2022, the highest-grossing influencer was 18-year-old Charli D’Amelio, who made $17.5 million posting dance and lip-sync videos, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.

Following the House vote to move the legislation forward, the bill heads to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain. It is possible that the Senate will not hear the bill or could substantially revise it through the amendment process. Should the Senate pass the bill, President Joe Biden has said he will sign it into law.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article