Sen. Hawley demands Microsoft cut ByteDance, Chinese Communist Party ties in potential TikTok acquisition

Missouri Republican requests Microsoft explain how app will not covertly send user data to CCP

Sen. Josh Hawley wants Microsoft to ensure TikTok severs all ties with its Chinese parent company ByteDance and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during any potential purchase of the popular video app.

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The Missouri Republican has long been concerned that user data TikTok collects on Americans could be shared with the Chinese government for nefarious purposes. Now that Microsoft is considering acquiring TikTok, Hawley wants to ensure that American data is secured.

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“It is not clear whether Microsoft is moving toward a partnership with ByteDance to continue offering the app in the United States, or whether Microsoft will be taking full and independent control of the app and its data,” Hawley wrote Wednesday in a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Let me be clear: Any resolution of the TikTok investigation that fails to sever all links between TikTok and potential proxies for the Chinese Communist Party, including but not limited to ByteDance, is unacceptable.”

Hawley wants clear answers from Microsoft on what steps the U.S. company will take to secure data and ensure it is not being shared with Chinese stakeholders.

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The issue of data privacy came front and center as President Trump threatened to ban the app that's very popular with young Americans.

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Trump gave his verbal approval to a potential deal between TikTok and an American company such as Microsoft on Monday but said TikTok had until Sept. 15 to close such a deal or face a U.S. ban.

"Here’s the deal. I don't mind if -- whether it's Microsoft or somebody else -- a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it," Trump told reporters at the White House. "It's probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30 percent of it. … Who's going to get the name, the name is hot?"

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The Trump administration has been weighing TikTok's fate since last year, launching an investigation into the short video company amid fears that its Bejing-based parent shares customer information with the Communist Chinese government.

FOX Business' Evie Fordham contributed to this report.