(ConcernedPatriot.com) – The U.S. government has reportedly pressured TikTok’s Chinese parent firm, ByteDance, to sell its stakes in the well-known video-sharing app or risk being banned in the nation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Biden administration’s stance has significantly changed due to this event, which has spurred new discussion.
Especially after the Chinese corporation engaged a consultancy firm with ties to the Biden campaign, many have charged that the Biden administration failed to take the purported security danger posed by the Chinese company seriously enough.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 16, 2023
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a federal task force of several agencies that keeps track of the threats to national security posed by foreign investments, demanded the sale.
ByteDance’s shares are controlled by international investors 60%, its employees 20%, and its founders 20%, according to TikTok, which was established in Beijing in 2012.
However, the founders’ shares have excessive voting rights, which is typical in technology.
In response to the CFIUS request, TikTok said that a forced sale would not eliminate the supposed security concern. Instead, the business has committed to spending $1.5 billion on a scheme to shield American users’ content and data from Chinese government access and manipulation.
“If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem,” said TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter. “A change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access.”
Oberwetter added that the best way to resolve national security concerns is through open, American-based user data and system protection, including strict third-party monitoring, screening, and verification.
When approached by the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department, which controls CFIUS, declined to comment on the circumstance.
Despite TikTok’s assurances regarding data security, unsettling material about how the Chinese firm manipulates Americans and spies on opponents of the Chinese government, in addition to millions of American teenagers, has continued to surface.
Breitbart News reported on a ByteDance whistleblower’s testimony earlier this month:
“Axios reports that a former employee of ByteDance — the Chinese parent company of the popular app TikTok — claims that the firm is misrepresenting the privacy of its U.S. users and may have backdoors built into the app.
The whistleblower asserts that employees can easily switch between U.S. and Chinese data using a proprietary tool called Dorado. TikTok’s access controls on U.S. user data are weaker than the company suggests.
The whistleblower’s concerns were sent in a letter by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight on Capitol Hill on August 3, 2022, in Washington, DC. Later today, the U.S. Senate will hold a series of votes on Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
TikTok has consistently refuted claims that it compromises the security of user data from the United States, claiming to keep it safe and to be committed to an agreement with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is reviewing the company’s procedures.
According to Hawley, the whistleblower’s claims have not been independently verified but contradict statements made in public by TikTok and ByteDance.
“This whistleblower’s allegations are deeply concerning. They also appear to contradict public statements made by TikTok and ByteDance executives,” Hawley stated in the letter.
Hawley cited Congressional testimony from TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas from last September, who stated that “there are strict access controls around the data that is accessed in the United States.”
Articles from Forbes and Reuters about ByteDance employees improperly accessing TikTok’s U.S. user data. Hawley has been a vocal critic of TikTok and has called for an outright ban on the app.
He referred to the whistleblower’s claims as “deeply concerning” and suggested that CFIUS look into them.”
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