With Microsoft confirming its intent to buy TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, India should ensure that any possible deal between the two companies did not include data of Indian users, a New Delhi-based think-tank said.
TikTok, owned by Chinese unicorn ByteDance, is facing a probe in India after the app was banned in the country in June over national security concerns.
“India must inform Microsoft, and the US regulators, who will approve the deal, that sale conditions must include and satisfy India’s concerns that TikTok is not selling or transferring any India-related data that it may have stored in servers in any of the deal related countries,” Robinder Sachdev, President of Imagindia Institute, said.
The official confirmation from Microsoft came after reports surfaced that the software giant had halted the talks with ByteDance after US President Donald Trump vowed to ban TikTok.
Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and the US President, Microsoft said it was prepared to continue talks to explore purchase of TikTok in the US.
Microsoft hopes to complete the discussion by September 15.
India must not allow TikTok to claim a global valuation of its business to include the value of the India-related data it had collected, Sachdev said.
“This global and local valuation of TikTok business would obviously have an impact on Microsoft’s valuation of the piece that is proposed to be carved out — the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand markets,” said Sachdev.
In a blog post last week, Nikhil Gandhi, India Head, TikTok, said the platform had submitted its response to the Indian government and was working with it to provide clarifications to allay the concerns.
“We have not shared any information of users in India with any foreign governments, nor have we used such data in any manner that would compromise the integrity of India. Further, even if we are requested to in the future, we would not do that,” he said.
“We remain committed to our creator community in India, that entertains millions of TikTok users worldwide with their talent, enabling cross-cultural exchanges and truly global engagements,” he said.