TikTok rejects calls for Chinese owners to divest themselves in the US

TikTok on Wednesday dismissed reports that the Biden administration was asking its Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the popular video-sharing app, saying such a move would not help protect national security.

The company was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that said the US Committee on Foreign Investments, part of the Treasury Department, was threatening a US ban on the app unless its owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., sell them.

“If protecting national security is the goal, a divestment doesn’t solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose new restrictions on data flow or access,” said Maureen Shanahan, spokeswoman for TikTok. “The best way to address national security concerns is with the transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, review and verification that we are already implementing.”

The Journal report cited anonymous “persons familiar with the matter.” The Treasury Department and the White House National Security Council declined to comment.

Late last month, the White House gave all federal agencies 30 days to wipe TikTok from all government devices.

The Office of Management and Budget called the guidance a “critical step forward in addressing the risks the app poses to sensitive government data.” Some agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State, already have restrictions in place. The White House already doesn’t allow TikTok on their devices.

Congress passed the No TikTok on Government Devices Act in December as part of a comprehensive government funding package. Legislation allows the use of TikTok in certain cases, including for national security, law enforcement, and research purposes.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been pushing legislation that would give the Biden administration more powers to crack down on TikTok.

Rep. Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House External Relations Committee, has been a vocal critic of the app, saying the Chinese Communist Party is using it to “manipulate and monitor its users while it gobbles up Americans’ data to get them.” malicious activities to use for their purposes.”

“Anyone who downloaded TikTok to their device has given the CCP a backdoor to all of their personal information. It’s a spy balloon in your phone,” the Texas Republican said.

TikTok remains hugely popular, used by two-thirds of US teens. However, there are growing concerns that Beijing could gain control of American user data obtained by the app.

The company has rejected the ban on federal equipment, saying it is developing security and privacy plans as part of the Biden administration’s ongoing national security review.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/tiktok-ap-chinese-communist-party-white-house-biden-b2301860.html TikTok rejects calls for Chinese owners to divest themselves in the US


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