The Biden administration is threatening to ban TikTok in the U.S. unless its Chinese owners agree to sell their shares.
The ultimatum delivered to Chinese internet company ByteDance in recent weeks, is an escalation in the battle to allow the app to continue operations amid rising national security and privacy concerns.
According to The Wall Street Journal, TikTok has acknowledged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) a federal multi-agency panel, had contacted company leaders. It was apparently “disappointed” with the new demand for divestiture.
Spokesperson Maureen Shanahan said in a statement.
If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem. A change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access.
The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing.”
TikTok has been negotiating with CFIUS for more than two years on a deal that could allow the app to continue operating in the US in the face of security and privacy concerns.
US officials are afraid that the Chinese government could use its national security laws to pressure TikTok (or ByteDance) into handing over personal information of TikTok’s users in the US. The very real concern is that could benefit Chinese intelligence activities or influence campaigns.
In other words, TikTok is potentially a giant social media spy balloon.
Breaking News: The Biden administration is demanding the Chinese company that owns TikTok sell the app or face a possible ban due to national security concerns. https://t.co/ZshM9YnZ3x— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 16, 2023
UK expected to ban the Chinese-owned TikTok app on government-issued phones and devices https://t.co/ZR6r3r804I— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 16, 2023