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Republican Senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal

The Hill logo The Hill 9/16/2020 Chris Mills Rodrigo
a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Republican Senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal © Greg Nash Republican Senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal

A group of Republican Senators led by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) on Wednesday raised concerns about a proposed partnership between Oracle and TikTok.

In a letter to President Trump, the lawmakers warned that a partnership where Oracle simply assumes a management role of the social media platform would not resolve the national security risks outlined in the executive order that has compelled the app's divestiture.

"The Executive order is a clear-eyed directive that highlights the data security, corporate espionage, and censorship hazards posed by TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance," Rubio and Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote.

"As this deal appears to fall short of a full acquisition, serious questions remain with regard to Oracle's role in TikTok's U.S. operations, the type of technology Oracle will be providing ByteDance, and the question of what will happen to the crucial algorithms, which make the application function."

Oracle and TikTok submitted the proposed deal to the Treasury Department over the weekend.

Any deal involving the wildly popular short-form video app would require administration approval.

Rubio's opposition to the deal is significant, given he was one of the first lawmakers to call for a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States review of TikTok.

Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had previously raised similar concerns about the deal.

Details about the nature of the proposed partnership have not been made public, although reports have suggested that it would involve moving TikTok's global headquarters to the U.S. while allowing ByteDance to remain a majority shareholder, with Oracle taking a minority stake.

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