The Biden administration has asked the Chinese ownership of TikTok to sell its stake in the popular app or face a possible ban in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported Wed. The move comes as US officials have raised concerns that data from users in the US could be transferred to the Chinese government.
The application to sell TikTok was recently submitted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a multi-agency federal task force that reviews mergers that could result in a foreign company taking control of an American company, the sources told the Post. A major concern among officials is that the Chinese government could use TikTok to dictate what content is shown or not shown on the platform in an effort to influence popular public opinion in the United States.
TikTok, a popular short video app owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is hugely popular in the US, especially among teens, as it competes with platforms like Facebook-owned Instagram and Google-owned YouTube. About 67% of US teens say they have used TikTok, according to a 2022 survey by Pew Research Center.
The app’s rising popularity has raised concerns among lawmakers and the US government about the data TikTok collects and shares about 100 million US users per month. Earlier this month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favor of a bill that House Republicans say would enable President Joe Biden’s administration to ban TikTok nationwide.
while, Tik Tok He met with US lawmakers and told them about a $1.5 billion plan to reorganize TikTok’s business in the US, Wall Street Journal mentioned in january.
“If protecting national security is the goal, divestment does not solve the problem: a change in ownership will not impose any new restrictions on data flow or access,” TikTok spokeswoman Hilary McQuade said in a statement.
“The best way to address national security concerns is transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with the robust third-party monitoring, auditing, and verification that we already implement,” McQuade said.
TikTok has said repeatedly that it does not share data with the Chinese government, but the company’s statements were not enough to satisfy lawmakers. In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray The app said They can be used “to control the collection of data on millions of users, to control a recommendation algorithm, which can be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”
In December, US lawmakers Application blocking from government agencies. Other countries – including CanadaAnd the European Union and Taiwan – they took similar steps. The use of the app on government devices or networks is also prohibited In some states including Virginia and Georgiawith some universities in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alabama similarly blocking access to computers and networks on campus.
Concerns about TikTok’s ownership and national security are nothing new. Trump administration I unsuccessfully pushed to block the social media platform in the United States, but the effort was ultimately blocked by the courts.
The Treasury Department, which leads the CFIUS, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.