TikTok owner announces bonuses for staff after US labels app a security threat

TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd. has announced it will pay out a rare half-month’s salary bonus for its employees, hoping to assuage its workforce as questions mount over its sale and status in the US.

According to an internal memo cited by Bloomberg News, ByteDance Ltd. will pay out a cash bonus to any full time employee who has worked at the company at least 26 days between July 1 and August 31.

READ MORE: Microsoft confirms plans to buy TikTok despite imminent US ban

“Over the past few months, we have been working together to overcome challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and changing macro environment,” ByteDance said in its memo.

“To thank everyone for their efforts and dedication, we will be issuing a cash bonus to all eligible employees.”

Many of ByteDance’s workforce will be concerned over the company’s future after US President Trump banned the viral video platform and prohibited American residents and entities from dealing with TikTok.

In August, President Trump issued an executive order giving ByteDance 90 days to either sell or spin off its TikTok business in the US, meaning it has until November 12 before it is banned.

Washington officials continue to label the app a security threat, while TikTok remains in takeover talks with Microsoft and Walmart, in a deal that could fetch over $20 billion.

Earlier this year, The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States opened a national security review into ByteDance’s 2018 purchase of Musical.ly, an app that was merged to form TikTok.

The panel is said to be examining whether the merged companies could give the Chinese government access to huge swathes of American data, including videos to aid training facial recognition software.

Further uncertainty over the deal may come from the Chinese government, who updated its list of “forbidden and restricted technology exports” on Friday to include the social media giant’s algorithm.

This has thrown a spanner in the works for ByteDance, Microsoft and Walmart, who have put forward a joint offer for the social media platforms US operations.

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