Federal government urges TikTok to sell shares or face a ban in the U.S.

March 16, 2023
a phone screen showing TikTok with nearby plant

The Biden administration is demanding that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their stakes in the video-sharing app or face a possible U.S. ban of the app.

The Wall Street Journal in an exclusive report. The Trump administration sought a TikTok ban over similar safety concerns in 2020 but the move was blocked in court.

What To Know: According to an exclusive report from The Wall Street Journal, federal officials recently demanded TikTok – owned by Chinese company ByteDance – to sell its stakes to the U.S. or face a potential U.S. banning of the app. The call for a forced sale is part of a 2+ year conversation within the government regarding how to secure TikTok data. Details about what it would look like for TikTok to sell their stakes remain unclear.

Why It Matters: TikTok – with over 100 million users in the U.S. – is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world and has faced continual debate as to how to safely manage its data. The most recent news is "the first time the Biden administration has explicitly threatened to ban TikTok" and comes amid ongoing talks in Congress about potential safety concerns with TikTok and other Chinese technology companies.

TikTok's Response: “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,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. "The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing."

U.S. tells TikTok owners to sell app or face a ban (Axios)

Original source: WSJ breaks news that U.S. Threatens Ban if TikTok’s Chinese Owners Don’t Sell Stakes

by Jenna Lee,