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Zuckerberg Fueled Trump Administration's TikTok Anxieties Ahead Of Executive Order: WSJ

Zuckerberg Fueled Trump Administration's TikTok Anxieties Ahead Of Executive Order: WSJ

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg raised the issue of Chinese companies threatening American businesses at a White House dinner last October, and discussed TikTok with multiple senators, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

What Happened: The social media company executive told President Donald Trump that the threat from Chinese companies to businesses in the United States should be a bigger concern than restraining Facebook, according to the Journal's sources.

Zuckerberg also reportedly talked about TikTok with Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in September, as well as with several other senators. Cotton and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) soon after wrote a letter to intelligence officials, demanding a probe into TikTok.

A national security review of the short-form video app, owned by China’s ByteDance, followed the letter in November, the Journal noted.

Why It Matters: The events led up to the president signing an executive order earlier this month, requiring U.S. entities to stop making financial transactions with the TikTok parent, starting 45 days from the date of signing the order. This would effectively stifle TikTok's operations in the country, unless ByteDance makes a sale. 

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL), and Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) are reported to be some U.S. companies vying for TikTok’s domestic and international operations.

This month, Zuckerberg told employees at a town hall meeting that banning TikTok would set a “really bad long-term precedent.”

“I am really worried…it could very well have long-term consequences in other countries around the world,” Zuckerberg said, according to BuzzFeed News.

The company introduced rival products to TikTok, like Instagram Reels, a short-form video app in 50 markets, including the U.S., earlier this month.

Price Action: Facebook shares closed nearly 0.7% lower at $267.01 on Friday and further declined 0.15% in the after-hours session.


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