The Biden Administration is significantly increasing the pressure on ByteDance just days before the TikTok CEO is set to testify in front of Congress. The US government is now “demanding” that ByteDance sell TikTok, according to an en The Wall Street Journal.
The new demand, that TikTok Reuters, is a hard blow for the company, which has spent more than two years with the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) about its future in the country. Those negotiations resulted in a broad partnership with Oracle and other measures aimed at safeguarding US user data.
Now, CFIUS has reportedly told TikTok that it wants ByteDance to sell its stake in the company after all. If not, the app could face a national ban. The and the have recently introduced bills that would make it easier for government officials to ban TikTok and other services deemed a threat to national security.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has previously stated that divesting from ByteDance would not address underlying government concerns about data security. However, Bloomberg reported earlier in the week that TikTok executives were “discussing the possibility of parting ways with ByteDance” if the CFIUS talks failed.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the US government has tried to force ByteDance’s hand. Former President Donald Trump also forced TikTok to be sold, but was ultimately unsuccessful. However, the latest threats of an outright ban on the app are sure to add to the pressure on TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, who is set to make his first appearance in Congress.
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