TikTok in US media

Chinese video-sharing app TikTok found itself embroiled in a severe political crisis as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it from operating in the US, one of its biggest markets, over concerns that the platform could pass US data to Chinese state agencies. At the beginning of August, media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg broke the news that Trump was set to order the sale of TikTok’s US operations by its parent ByteDance and that Microsoft was in talks to acquire the app – a deal which could be valued in the tens of billions of dollars.

We analysed 608 articles published in top-tier English-language outlets between 01-08 August 2020. We conducted a qualitative analysis in order to find the most prominent topics, coverage drivers, spokespeople and commentators in the media conversation around TikTok during that period.

We deliver meaning to some of the world’s biggest names