China says US spreading disinformation, suppressing TikTok

China accused the United States on Thursday of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok following reports that the Biden administration was asking its Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the popular video-sharing app.

The United States has yet to produce evidence that TikTok threatens its national security and was using the excuse of data security to abuse its power to crack down on foreign companies, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang told reporters. Wenbin, at a daily briefing.

“The United States should stop spreading data security misinformation, stop suppressing the relevant company, and provide an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies to invest in and operate in the United States,” Wang said.

TikTok on Wednesday dismissed a report in The Wall Street Journal that said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, part of the Treasury Department, was threatening to ban the app from the US unless its owners, ByteDance Ltd., based in Beijing, were disbanded.

“If the goal is to protect national security, divestiture does not solve the problem: a change in ownership would not place new restrictions on data flows or access,” TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan said.

Shanahan said TikTok was already responding to concerns through “transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, investigation and verification.” “.

The Journal report cited “anonymous people familiar with the matter.” The Treasury Department and the White House National Security Council declined to comment.

In late February, the White House gave all federal agencies 30 days to delete TikTok from all government devices. Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and the Department of State, already have restrictions. The White House no longer allows TikTok on its devices.

Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December as part of a sweeping government funding package. The law allows the use of TikTok in certain cases, including for national security, law enforcement, and investigative purposes.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been moving forward with legislation that would give the Biden administration more power to clamp down on TikTok.

TikTok remains wildly popular and is used by two-thirds of teens in the US. But there are growing concerns that Beijing could gain control of the US user data the app has obtained and push narratives and propaganda across Beijing favor in the application.

China has long been concerned about the influence of social media and communication apps abroad, banning most of the best-known ones, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

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