(San Francisco) The US government has asked TikTok’s parent company, China’s ByteDance, to sell its stake in the famous app or it will be banned in the United States, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal ( WSJ) published Wednesday.
Pressure has been mounting for years in the United States against the very popular platform, perceived as a threat to national security by many elected officials because of its membership in a Chinese group.
The February downing of a supposed Chinese spy balloon sparked renewed efforts in Congress to ban the entertaining short video app, accused of giving Beijing access to user data around the world, something TikTok has said. always denied.
According to sources in the American daily, the White House ultimatum comes from CFIUS, a government agency responsible for assessing the risks of any foreign investment for American national security.
The government and the Treasury refused to confirm the information, and TikTok did not react immediately to a request from AFP.
TikTok, which is making many efforts to reassure politicians and the public of its integrity, was counting on the federal agency to find a compromise.
“The quickest and most effective way to address these concerns […] is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we have been working on with them for almost two years,” a TikTok spokesperson said in late February. .
He was reacting to the consideration of a bill carried by Republicans, which would give the authority to President Joe Biden to completely ban TikTok.
The White House has already banned officials from federal institutions from having the app on their smartphones, under a law ratified in early January. The European Commission and the Canadian government recently made similar decisions for their civil servants’ mobile phones.
The company stores US user data on servers located in the country. She admitted that employees based in China had access to it, but under a strict and limited framework, and not the Chinese government.
In the summer of 2020, former President Donald Trump had signed several executive orders in an attempt to ban the platform.
Since then, its already considerable popularity has exploded thanks to the pandemic, beyond its original audience, teenagers.
The app has surpassed YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in “time spent” by American adults on each platform in recent years, and now trails Netflix, according to Insider Intelligence.
Powerful US civil rights group ACLU has opposed the anti-TikTok bills in the name of free speech.