US Threatens TikTok Ban unless Chinese Owners Divest Stakes

The owner of the Chinese app TikTok said the White House has demanded them to divest their steaks in the video-sharing app or risk a ban in the United States, the company told Reuters this week.

The decision was made after new legislation was introduced in the United States that would allow the White House to outlaw any foreign-based technology that is deemed to be a threat to national security.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, has been accused of endangering national security by collecting data on millions of users.

Authorities in the U.S. have voiced concern for years that sensitive information from the widely used app could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.

The WSJ reports that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is pressuring ByteDance to distance itself from China by selling its stake in TikTok.

According to the article, ByteDance was advised by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), which monitors national security issues, to sell its stake in TikTok.

A spokesperson for TikTok confirmed it had been contacted by CFIUS, but that the media’s coverage was overstated and it was unclear what “divestiture” meant in this context.