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World News | TikTok dismisses calls by Chinese owner to divest US

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WASHINGTON, March 16 (AP) — TikTok shrugged off reports that the Biden administration has called on its Chinese owner to sell its stake in the popular video-sharing app, saying the move would do nothing to protect national security.

The company is responding to a Wall Street Journal report that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is part of the Treasury Department, has threatened that unless its owner, Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., spins off the app, the U.S. will Impose a ban on the app.

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TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan said: “If protecting national security is the goal, divestment doesn’t solve the problem: the change of ownership does not impose any new restrictions on data flow or access.”

“National security concerns are best addressed with transparent, U.S.-based protections of U.S. user data and systems, and the robust third-party monitoring, scrutiny, and verification we already have in place.”

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The Wall Street Journal report quoted anonymous “informed sources” as saying. The Treasury Department and the White House National Security Council declined to comment.

Late last month, the White House gave all federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government devices.

The Office of Management and Budget called the guidance “a critical step in addressing the risks the app poses to sensitive government data.” Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and State, have instituted restrictions. The White House has already disallowed the use of TikTok on its devices.

Congress passed the “Ban TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December as part of a sweeping government funding package. The legislation does allow the use of TikTok in certain circumstances, including for national security, law enforcement and research purposes.

At the same time, lawmakers in the House and Senate have been advancing legislation to give the Biden administration more powers to suppress TikTok.

House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul has been an outspoken critic of the app, saying the Chinese Communist Party is using it to “manipulate and monitor users while devouring Americans’ data for their malign activities.”

“Anyone who downloads TikTok on their device is giving the CCP a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into your phone,” the Texas Republican said.

TikTok remains hugely popular, used by two-thirds of teens in the United States, but concerns are growing that Beijing may control the app’s access to U.S. user data.

The company has been dismissive of the federal device ban, noting that it is developing a security and data privacy plan as part of the Biden administration’s ongoing national security review. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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