Biden admin mulling nationwide TikTok ban if Chinese parent company doesn’t divest

The Biden administration wants TikTok’s Chinese parent company to distance itself from the popular social media platform, or face a possible nationwide ban, TikTok confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal Reported That the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) recently called for the investment, and a TikTok spokesperson didn’t dispute that account.

The Treasury Department, of which CFIUS is a part, declined to comment. The White House and the National Security Council also declined to comment.

“If protecting national security is the goal, then division doesn’t solve the problem,” TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan told CBS News in a statement.

“The best way to address national security concerns is through transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, testing and verification, which we already have in place,” Shanahan added. have been.”

A TikTok spokesperson also said that it’s not clear exactly what the distribution will actually look like, and the company hasn’t provided concrete details about it. It was not clear if the company was given any kind of deadline.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has already done so. Ban on federal government instrumentsMore than half of US states have also banned the app on state government devices, including military devices. has happened Increased bilateral support For a total nationwide ban over potential national security concerns.

“TikTok is the modern-day Trojan horse. [Chinese Communist Party]used to monitor and exploit the personal information of Americans,” Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of Texas, said in February. “It’s a spy balloon in your phone.”

In a ___ Letter To the CEOs of Apple and Google, Sen. Michael Bennett, Democrat of Colorado, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote in February, “Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law allows ByteDance to Binds, based in its Beijing-based parent company, ‘supports, assists and supports state intelligence work’.

As CBS News has done. Reported earlierTikTok, like many other tech companies, tracks users’ personal information, including phone numbers, email addresses, contacts and Wi-Fi networks.

“We have national security concerns,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said last year. “These include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users.”

Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the US, told CBS News in December that the concern is overblown and “makes for good politics.” He said TikTok collects less data than other social media apps and is working to move user data to servers in the US, out of China’s reach.

The CEO of TikTok is Shu Zhiqiu. Appointed to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month, and is expected to face tough questions over the company’s data collection and sharing practices.

Caitlin Yelk, Scott McFarlane and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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