The Internet service Twitter has apparently got involved in negotiations on the possible sale of the controversial Chinese video platform TikTok to Americans. As the US newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported, with reference to people who know about the matter, Twitter had the first non-binding discussions about a possible merger with TikTok.

In addition to the technology group Microsoft, there would be a second prospective American buyer on the Chinese platform, which US President Donald Trump wants to ban in the United States from September 15. The US government fears the app could spy on American citizens and leak their personal data to the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok denies this and has announced legal action against the ban.

Trump has said the video platform can only survive in the United States if it sells its US business to an American corporation by September 15.

According to the Wall Street Journal , it is unclear whether Twitter would be capable of such a deal. The short message service would have to overcome significant hurdles in order to outdo the much larger and more financially strong Microsoft group as a possible buyer. Twitter would almost certainly have to bring in additional outside investors in order to be able to pay the purchase price for TikTok.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has been negotiating for weeks with the owner of TikTok, the Chinese company ByteDance. Microsoft boss Satya Nadella has already spoken to President Trump about the business, Microsoft announced in early August. Trump has signaled his approval for the sale.

TikTok is currently the world's most frequently installed smartphone app for social media - ahead of YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. In the United States alone, it has been downloaded 175 million times according to reports from the White House. Around 800 million people worldwide use the app.