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NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump says he wants to take action to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns.

The threat comes as Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks to buy the Chinese app, owned by Bytedance Ltd., according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity to the negotiations.

Microsoft declined to comment.

It’s not clear whether Trump would accept a divestment as a concession. But there have been reports of U.S. tech giants and financial firms being interested in buying or investing in TikTok as the Trump administration sets its sights on the app.

Questions and answers about what’s at stake:

Q. What’s TikTok?

A. ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.

TikTok’s fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular, and U.S. tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat. It has said it has tens of millions of U.S. users and hundreds of millions globally. But TikTok has also been a way that millions of people have built careers and made a living.

Q. What would the ban look like?

A. The app would be pulled from the app store of Apple and Google and not function unless used by a virtual private network, experts say.

Q. How likely is the ban?

A. Experts believe that while the ban may seem legitimate, it likely won’t come to that, given the pressure by ByteDance to sell its stake and any control of TikTok to a U.S. company or completely spin off, says Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies, an industry analysis and market research firm based in San Jose, California.

“I think a total spin-off or U.S. tech firm acquisition is the likely scenario here so it can keep operating,” he added.

Q. What does a ban mean for TikTok creators?

A. Many are trying to move followers to other platforms like YouTube and Triller, an entertainment platform built for creators. Some are trying to monetize through sites like Patreon, a crowdfunding platform for artists, musicians and other creators, says Amber Atherton, CEO at Zyper, a community marketing platform that connects brands with the top 1% of their superfans.

Atherton says teens will continue to access Tik Tok anyway through a virtual private network in the same way that teens access Instagram in China. But she says teenagers are devastated since TikTok is about everyday people where users can discover product demos and other information.

Q. What are the political consequences for a ban on TikTok?

A. Industry officials say that any ban could invoke some retaliation from China against U.S. businesses.

“It could make many companies wary of the U.S. government’s capricious decisions, which leads to instability and uncertainty, “ says Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester Research, an e-commerce research firm. ”Investors then opt to park capital in more stable, predictable environments. Something of this nature is relatively uncommon. Usually, it happens when there are sanctions or other major political action.”


AP Technology Writer Tali Arbel in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Trump and Jared’s ‘banker investigated by Deutsche Bank over purchase of $1.5M apartment from Kushner-owned company’

DEUTSCHE Bank is reportedly investigating ties between President Donald Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner and their personal banker.

Per The New York Times, the bank, is looking to see whether Rosemary Vrablic improperly bought a $1.5million apartment in 2013 from Bergel 715 Associates — which is part-owned by Kushner.

5Deutsche Bank said it's investigating a property sale by Jared Kushner's personal bankerCredit: Reuters

At the time of the sale of the New York City apartment on Park Avenue to Vrablic and two of her Deutsche Bank colleagues in June 13, a source told the Times Kusher “held an ownership stake in the entity.”

According to an annual personal finance report filed on Friday, Kushner reported that he and his wife, Ivanka Trump, received $1million to $5million last year from Bergel 715.

Daniel Hunter, a spokesperson for the bank, told the news outlet Deutsche Bank didn’t know about the sale by Vrablic and colleagues until the Times contacted them about it.

“The bank will closely examine the information that came to light on Friday and the fact pattern from 2013,” he said.

5Rosemary Vrablic, of Deutsch Bank, is seen hereCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Hunter did not immediately return The Sun’s request for comment on Sunday night.

The Times reported on Sunday that Kusher and the president were clients of Vrablic’s when she bought the apartment, and that they had received roughly $190million in loans from the bank.

After that, both Kusher and Trump were reportedly granted hundred of millions of dollars.

As noted by the newspaper, banks typically prohibit employees from doing personal business with clients because of conflicts of interest.

5Deutsche Bank agreed to take on Trump as a client despite defaulting on a loan from them three years priorCredit: Getty - Pool

A lawyer for Vrablic, who works as a senior private banker and managing director at Deutsche Bank, declined to comment on the story to the Times.

Christopher Smith, the general manager of the Kushner family’s real estate company, Kushner Companies, said: Kushner is not the managing partner of that entity and has no involvement with the sales of the apartments.”

The Times reported that how much stake Kushner has in the company is unclear.

Vrablic has worked with the Kushner family since before she joined Deutsche Bank, and in 2011, Kushner brought her to meet Trump.

5Kushner said he introduced Trump to VrablicCredit: Alamy Live News 5Vrablic is seen hereCredit: Twitter/The Ursuline School

Kusher testified to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017: “I introduced him to this woman Rosemary.”

“She is one of the biggest private wealth bankers, probably in the world. Amazing banker, amazing woman. Very smart banker. And she banked my family for a long time.”

According to the Times, Vrablic and superiors at Deutsche Bank agreed to take on Trump as a client — despite defaulting on a loan from them three years prior.

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The news outlet reported that many mainstream banks at the time didn’t want to work with Trump “because of his history of defaults and bankruptcies.”

In 2012, Trump was lent $175million by Deutsche Bank for Trump National Doral Miami and Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago.

The bank, based in Frankfurt, Germany, also lent Trump $170 million for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, which was transformed out of the Old Post Office building.

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