The Biden administration has asked the Chinese group ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell its shares in the famous application, failing which it will be banned in the United States, reports the wall street journal.
The White House ultimatum comes from CFIUS, a government agency tasked with assessing the risks of any foreign investment to US national security.
“If the goal is to protect national security, divestment does not solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose new restrictions on data flows or access”said a spokeswoman for TikTok. “The best way to address national security concerns is to provide transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, screening, and verification, that we are already implementing”, she added.
The White House has already banned officials of federal institutions from having the social network application on their smartphones, pursuant to a law ratified in early January. The European Commission and the Canadian government recently made similar decisions for their civil servants’ mobile phones.
TikTok stores US user data on servers located in the country. The group admitted that employees based in China had access to it, but under a strict and limited framework, and not the Chinese government. In the summer of 2020, former President Donald Trump had signed several executive orders in an attempt to ban the platform.
TikTok has overtaken YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in time spent by American adults on each platform in recent years, and is now trailing Netflix.