The Biden administration needs TikTok’s Chinese language dad or mum firm to divest itself of the favored social media platform, or it might face a potential nationwide ban, TikTok confirmed to CBS Information on Wednesday.
The Wall Road Journal reported that the Committee on International Funding within the U.S. (CFIUS) lately made the divestment ask, and a TikTok spokesperson didn’t dispute that account.
The Treasury Division, of which CFIUS is a component, declined to remark. The White Home and Nationwide Safety Council additionally declined to remark.
“If defending nationwide safety is the target, divestment doesn’t clear up the issue,” TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan advised CBS Information in an announcement.
“One of the simplest ways to handle issues about nationwide safety is with the clear, U.S.-based safety of U.S. person knowledge and methods, with strong third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we’re already implementing,” Shanahan added.
A spokesperson for TikTok additionally mentioned that it was not precisely clear what divestment would truly appear like, and that concrete particulars on this weren’t offered to the corporate. It was not clear if the corporate was given any form of deadline.
TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance, has already been, together with navy gadgets, and greater than half of U.S. states have banned the app on state authorities gadgets as properly. There was for a full nationwide ban over potential nationwide safety issues.
“TikTok is a modern-day Malicious program of the [Chinese Communist Party], used to surveil and exploit People’ private data,” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the Republican chairman of the Home International Affairs Committee, mentioned in February. “It’s a spy balloon in your cellphone.”
In a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Google, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote in February, “In contrast to most social media platforms, TikTok poses a singular concern as a result of Chinese language regulation obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based dad or mum firm, to ‘assist, help, and cooperate with state intelligence work.’”
As CBS Information has, TikTok, like many different tech corporations, tracks customers’ private data, together with cellphone numbers, e mail addresses, contacts and WiFi networks.
“We do have nationwide safety issues,” FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned final 12 months. “They embody the likelihood that the Chinese language authorities might use it to manage knowledge assortment on tens of millions of customers.”
Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public coverage for the Americas, advised CBS Information in December that the priority is overstated and “makes for good politics.” He mentioned TikTok collects much less knowledge than different social media apps and is working to maneuver person knowledge to servers within the U.S., out of attain of China.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew isearlier than the Home Power and Commerce Committee later this month, and he’s anticipated to face robust questioning over the corporate’s knowledge assortment and sharing procedures.
— Caitlin Yilek, Scott MacFarlane and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.