The Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok if the app’s Chinese owners don’t sell their shares in the company, according to the video-sharing app.
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance and used by more than 100 million people in the United Stateswas criticized by lawmakers who feared the Chinese government could use the app to win access to users’ personal data or spread false information.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or Cfius, has launched a national security review of the app in 2020. Former President Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok that year, but was stuck in court. More recently, TikTok has been banned by some universities, states and federal agencies for security reasons.
The sell request was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Cfius did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and TikTok declined to discuss details of the government’s request.
TikTok argues that a divestment would not solve national security concerns.
“A change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on streams or data access,” TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan said in a statement.
The company in June said it was committed to improving its security controls and would route all US user traffic through Oracle Cloud Infrastructure “to better protect our application, systems, and US user data security.”
“The best way to address national security concerns is with transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, auditing, and auditing, which we are already putting in place. implemented,” Shanahan said.
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