The Biden administration is threatening a possible ban tick tock in the United States if the video-sharing app’s Chinese owners refuse to sell their stakes in it, a source close to the company told NBC News on Thursday.
However, the source warned that the company did not take the government’s move as a final order. Conversations between TikTok and US government officials run for years.
The request of the administration reported first by The Wall Street Journal, signals a significant shift in US stance on Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., which owns the popular app.
The White House and Treasury Department declined to comment.
In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said: “If protecting national security is the goal, a divestiture does not solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose new restrictions on data flow or access. The best way to address national security concerns is transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems with robust third-party monitoring, screening, and verification that we already implement.”
Any sale by ByteDance would need to be approved by the Chinese government.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the US has not presented any evidence that TikTok poses a threat to its national security.
“The US side should stop spreading false information about data security, stop unduly oppressing the affected companies, and create an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for companies of all countries to invest and operate in the US can,” Wang told Wenbin at a regular news conference.
Brooke Oberwetter, a spokeswoman for TikTok, told NBC News last week that the Biden administration already has the authority to oversee the app through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
News of the government’s request comes a week after the White House endorsed it a bipartisan bill in Congress, which would allow the federal government to do so regulate and even ban foreign-made technologyincluding Tiktok.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is to testify before Congress next week.
Late December Biden law signed banning TikTok on government devices.
Republicans have repeatedly criticized the Biden administration’s handling of security concerns surrounding TikTok. This criticism grew louder over the past month as some GOP critics attempted to tie the app to the Chinese spy balloon suspected that made its way across the United States
Opponents of a possible TikTok ban have countered that blocking the app from US phones is not a comprehensive solution to data security concerns.
In the final year of his presidency, Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok downloads, but the Commerce Department eventually backed down from an order that forced it to shut it down after a lawsuit.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com
Source : news.yahoo.com