The prospect of ByteDance being forced to sell TikTok’s US operation by the Trump administration faded away when Trump was ejected from office. However, it has now returned, with both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reporting yesterday that the Biden administration is taking a similar stance to its predecessor.
“Demanding that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their stakes in the video-sharing app or face a possible US ban of the app,” in the WSJ’s words. Both reports described this as a shift in policy for the administration, amid growing pressure from US politicians (and, indeed, several proposed bills) focusing on a potential ban of TikTok there.
The new demand to sell or be banned reportedly comes from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which has not commented publicly on the news.
However, TikTok is once again having to play defence, with its spokesperson telling the WSJ: “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.”
This is all only increasing the anticipation for 23 March, when TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will be testifying before Congress in a hearing that promises to be a crucial moment for his company’s future in the US.
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