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Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Wants to Buy TikTok

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Wants to Buy TikTok

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he is assembling a group of investors to buy the Chinese-owned TikTok social media video streaming app.

“This should be owned by U.S. businesses,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” business news show on March 14 . “There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China.”

The move comes a day after the U.S. House of Representatives, in a bipartisan 352-65, vote ruled the social media app’s U.S. operations must be sold or face a ban. TikTok, which is reportedly used by 170 million mostly younger Americans, poses a national security threat, according to lawmakers.

Whether such a sale ever occurs hinges on China’s willingness to sell. Beijing a year ago said it would oppose any foreign sale of TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd.

The U.S. government’s move to extricate China’s control of TikTok follows similar efforts by the former Trump Administration. Yet now the former president has reversed himself, arguing a sale of TikTok would hurt younger people.

Speaking March 11 on the same “Squawk Box” program, Trump agreed TikTok posed a security threat, but said banning it would alienate the platform’s younger users.

“Frankly, there are a lot of people on TikTok that love it,” Trump said. “There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who will go crazy without it.”

The current GOP presidential nominee also contends that banning TikTok would empower Facebook and other social media platforms.

“The thing I don’t like is that without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger,” Trump said. “And I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media.”

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