A logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Tokyo. InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovSeveral US governors have already prohibited state officials from using TikTok on their devices and on state premises, in line with a federal law approved by the Senate late last year.Washington is demanding that the Chinese owners of TikTok sell their stakes or face a possible US ban of the video-sharing app, an American newspaper has reported.The report cited unnamed sources as saying that the sale demand with respect to Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. was made by the Biden administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a multiagency federal task force that monitors national security risks in cross-border investments.TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement on Wednesday that a forced sale would not help tackle the perceived security risk. The spokeswoman promised to spend $1.5 billion on a program to protect US user data from Chinese government access.Oberwetter added that “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.”
"The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing," she stressed.
The remarks follow the House Foreign Affairs Committee passing a bill earlier this month that allows President Joe Biden to ban TikTok nationwide. A ban would require passage by the full House and the Senate before POTUS can sign the measure into law.This came as Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning slammed last year’s US ban on TikTok on federal government devices, which she described as a sign that Washington is insecure in its position in the world.
"How unsure of itself can the world’s top superpower be to fear a young people’s favorite app like that? The US has been over-stretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress foreign companies," Mao pointed out.
She added that Beijing “firmly” opposes “those wrong actions”, urging the Biden administration to “respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop suppressing the companies and provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies in the US.”AnalysisWashington’s TikTok Ban & Broader Hi-Tech War on China May Backfire – Author15 December 2022, 18:07 GMTIn 2020, the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to ban Chinese social media, including TikTok and WeChat. The Biden administration later dropped this initiative, which, however, was followed by the White House increasing pressure on TikTok.In December 2022, some US governors banned state officials from using TikTok on their devices, with the vide-sharing platform slamming these measures as groundless and politically motivated.