Some US Security Officials May Call For TikTok Owner ByteDance To Sell US Unit
US government officials reportedly want Bytedance to sell its TikTok unit in the United States. They claim it would address security concerns from this social media app.
Authorities from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) told the Wall Street Journal that they are considering that plan.
Yet, a TikTok representative told Insider that the company has been working with the US government “for over two years to address all reasonable national security concerns about TikTok in the US.
Why do US officials want to ban Tiktok?
According to Insider, some authorities worry the app exposes US users to data security risks and potential propaganda.
Florida senator Maro Rubio introduced a bipartisan bill to ban TikTok nationwide. Also, FBI Director Chris Wray believes the TikTok US unit is a national security threat.
Wray explained his claim during a speaking engagement at the University of Michigan:
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States.”
“The Chinese government has shown a willingness to steal Americans’ data on a scale that dwarfs any other,” Wray added. Thus, he said that Americans should be wary about using the Bytedance app:
Moreover, the FBI director warned Americans should worry about giving China “that much ability to shape content,” “engage in influence operations,” and “access to people’s devices.”
On Friday, Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin passed an executive order banning Tiktok and WeChat from state-run gadgets and wireless networks.
“TikTok and WeChat data are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American,” said Youngkin.
Also, Georgia governor Brian Kemp released a similar order banning the Bytedance app from state government devices for data security reasons.
In early December, Texas government Greg Abbott called for state agencies to prevent employees from downloading or using Tiktok.
Gov. Abbott wrote in a letter, “TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where, and how they conduct internet activity—and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government.”
The ban on Bytedance’s TikTok US unit has expanded to the federal government. The House of Representatives will soon ban the app from all US government devices.
The House’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) stated that the app poses a “high risk due to a number of security issues.”
It will be part of the $1.66 trillion omnibus spending bill and will take effect once President Joe Biden signs it into law.