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US tells ByteDance to sell TikTok or get banned: report

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. government has urged China-based ByteDance to sell its stake in blockbuster app TikTok or face a national ban, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Western powers, including the European Union and the United States, are becoming increasingly strict on the app over concerns that user data could be used or misused by Chinese officials.

Concern here increased earlier this year after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down in US airspace.

The White House last week welcomed a bill that would allow President Joe Biden to ban TikTok, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

A bipartisan bill “would authorize the United States government to prevent certain foreign governments from exploiting technology services … in ways that pose a risk to Americans’ sensitive information and our national security,” Sullivan said.

The Senate bill and White House support accelerated political momentum against TikTok, which is also the target of a separate bill in the US House of Representatives.

Appearing tough on China is one of the rare issues with potential for bipartisan support in both the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Senate, where Biden’s Democratic Party holds a majority.

TikTok claims it has more than a billion users worldwide, including over 100 million in the US, where it has become a cultural force, especially among young people.

Activists argue a ban would be an attack on free speech and would stifle the export of American culture and values ​​to TikTok users around the world.

US government employees were banned from installing TikTok on their devices in January.

Officials in the European Union as well as Canada are also banned from having TikTok on their phones.

According to the Journal report, the ultimatum to TikTok came from the US agency tasked with assessing the national security risks of foreign investments.

Both US officials and TikTok declined to comment on the report.

TikTok has consistently denied sharing data with Chinese officials and says it has been working with the US to address national security concerns for nearly two years.

The time users spend on TikTok has surpassed time spent on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and is closing in on streaming television titan Netflix, according to market tracker Insider Intelligence.

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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