U.S. Government Tells ByteDance to Either Sell TikTok or Prepare for Ban

Tensions between the Biden administration and China’s ByteDance have hit a turning point following an official order from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). The U.S. has been debating whether to ban TikTok for some time now, initially requiring just politicians to delete the app from their work phones.

Now, the CFIUS has demanded that ByteDance sells its stakes in the app if it wants to avoid a ban in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reported. The committee is dedicated to overseeing potential national security risks regarding investments abroad, meaning that it’s determined ByteDance’s ownership of the app to pose a concern to U.S. safety.

60% of the Beijing-founded ByteDance belongs to global investors, while 20% is owned by employees and 20% by the company’s founders. In response to the order from the CFIUS, TikTok has refuted the notion that a sale would circumvent any potential security risks.

“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, ” TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter told WSJ in a statement.

“The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing,” she continued.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before Congress next week to answer questions about the app and its security measures.

In other tech news, Samsung added two new additions to the Galaxy A series.
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