TikToks

Factbox: Facebook and TikTok’s fraught history

FILE PHOTO: The logos of TikTok and Facebook are displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook’s escalated a bruising fight with TikTok with the launch on Wednesday of its new short-video feature Reels, a look-alike service embedded within its popular Instagram app.

The debut arrived at a fraught moment for TikTok, which has come under threat of a ban by the White House, prompting China’s ByteDance to weigh a sale of the app’s U.S. operations to Microsoft.

Here is a look at the tense tangle between heavyweight Facebook and upstart TikTok.

* Before China’s ByteDance acquired Shanghai-based startup Musical.ly in 2017 and turned it into TikTok, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg tried to buy the app, BuzzFeed has reported. A source familiar with the effort confirmed the talks to Reuters. Discussions ultimately stalled, and by 2018 Facebook executives believed

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Timeline: TikTok’s journey from global sensation to Trump target

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp’s potential acquisition of TikTok’s U.S. operations is the latest twist in a rollercoaster two years for the short video app, which has come under growing scrutiny from overseas governments as its global popularity soars.

FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

With TikTok, owner ByteDance became the first Chinese company to achieve global success with a consumer app. But amid rising U.S-China tensions, the White House has threatened to ban TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps, citing national security risks.

U.S. President Donald Trump has now given ByteDance and Microsoft until Sept. 15 to reach a deal. Microsoft is also looking to buy the app’s Canadian, Australian and New Zealand services.

Following is a timeline of TikTok’s rise to global prominence and into the crosshairs of the Trump administration.

2012 – ByteDance is

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ByteDance founder defends TikTok’s U.S. strategy in staff letter

BEIJING (Reuters) – ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming told employees on Tuesday there were misunderstandings on Chinese social media about TikTok’s situation in the United States and that the company could face more difficulties as anti-Chinese sentiment rose abroad.

FILE PHOTO: Zhang Yiming, founder and global CEO of ByteDance, poses in Palo Alto, California, U.S., March 4, 2020. Picture taken March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

His comments in a letter to ByteDance’s Chinese employees came after the company and Zhang were heavily criticised on Chinese social media for entering into talks with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations.

Chinese media first reported the contents of the internal letter. A source confirmed the content of the memo to Reuters.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I actually understand (the criticism),” Zhang said in the letter. “People have high expectations of a company founded by

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Microsoft talks to buy TikTok’s U.S. operations spark ire in China

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – A potential shotgun wedding to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) for TikTok’s U.S. operations provoked an outcry on Chinese social media as well as criticism from a prominent Chinese investor in TikTok owner ByteDance.

FILE PHOTO: China and U.S. flags are seen near a TikTok logo in this illustration picture taken July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

The U.S. tech giant formally declared its interest on Sunday after President Donald Trump, who has cited national security risks posed by the Chinese-owned short video app, reversed course on a planned ban and gave the two firms 45 days to come to a deal.

The proposed acquisition of parts of TikTok, which boasts 100 million U.S. users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Snap Inc (SNAP.N).

Microsoft which owns

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