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May 22, 2024

China on Thursday accused the United States of spreading disinformation and cracking down on TikTok after reports that the Biden administration asked the popular social media platform’s Chinese owner ByteDance Ltd to sell its stake in the app.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that the United States has not produced evidence that TikTok threatens national security, and has abused its power to suppress foreign companies under the pretext of data security.

“The U.S. side should stop spreading false information about data security, stop suppressing relevant companies, and provide an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies to invest and operate in the U.S.,” Wen Bin said.

The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said the U.S. Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States threatened to ban the app unless ByteDance strips.

Biden admin threatens ban if TIKTOK’s Chinese owner doesn’t sell stake

On August 8, 2022, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin answered a question at a press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Treasury Department declined to comment for this story.

Earlier this month, National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone issued a warning about TikTok’s data collection and algorithm and “controlling who owns the algorithm.”

“If protecting national security is the goal, divestment is not the answer: the change of ownership does not impose any new restrictions on data flow or access,” TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan told FOX Business in an email.

TikTok app on phone screen, Thursday, March 16, 2023.

TikTok app on phone screen, Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

China can use TIKTOK as a “propaganda” tool and should “absolutely” be banned, Senator.warner says

Shanahan said social media apps have responded to concerns with “transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, as well as robust third-party monitoring, vetting and verification.”

The TikTok logo is seen on smartphones laid out in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, March 9, 2023.

The TikTok logo is seen on smartphones laid out in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, March 9, 2023. (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Two-thirds of U.S. teens use TikTok

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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