The United States government has instructed the owners of the Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok’s Chinese to sell their shares or face a potential ban on the app in America.
The reports emerged on Wednesday that the US President Joe Biden administration was embarking on dramatic moves to possibly block the TikTok app in the North American country amid fears of its user data being shared with the Chinese government.
While Biden has raised many concerns on how TikTok could endanger data in the US, this is the first time under the administration that a ban has been threatened, Sky News said on Thursday.
In 2020, Donald Trump was stopped by US courts when he attempted to prohibit TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.
TikTok, which has more than 100 million US users, has already been muffled by the White House after it ordered government agencies to delete the app on federal devices and systems.
Sky News reported that more than 30 states followed suit, preventing staff from using the social media platform on government-owned devices.
China denounced the US over its TikTok bans, saying it has been “abusing state power”.
Some are suggesting a nationwide ban, as Republicans and Democrats joined forces late last year to unveil bipartisan legislation that would enforce such an option.
It’s not only in the US where TikTok has come under fire – Canada announced the app posed an “unacceptable risk” and banned it from government devices, as has the European Commission, Belgium and The Netherlands.
Taiwan and Afghanistan have also enforced their own bans, with India blocking TikTok completely.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter confirmed the possible ban but said, “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.”
Meanwhile, the White House declined to comment on it.