The Biden administration is demanding that TikTok’s Chinese owner sell its stake in the app or risk being banned in the United States, the company said on Wednesday.
TikTok said the company was contacted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. and said they prefer for ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok amid national security concerns. The news comes after the White House came out in support of bipartisan legislation last week that could ban TikTok.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the story. The publication was the first to report the U.S. was in talks with TikTok for over two years, negotiating an agreement over data security.
“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,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter 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.”
The White House and Treasury Department declined to comment.
Lawmakers from both parties have recently united together against TikTok over concerns that the video-sharing app’s parent company ByteDance would share U.S. user data with the Chinese government.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed legislation to ban the app from the phones of government officials, and European Union and Canada have followed the U.S. in doing so, sparking more concern over the possible data sharing from the company.