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U.S. wants TikTok’s owners to sell their stake in the company, or face a possible ban

The news follows action from the Canadian government to ban TikTok on government-issued devices

The U.S. government has given TikTok an ultimatum, either the app’s Chinese owners sell their shares, or the government might ban the app in the United States.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., known as Cfius, made the demand to address ongoing security concerns regarding user data.

Similar privacy concerns have also been ongoing north of the border. Privacy officials in Canada are examining how TikTok uses personal information, particularly of its younger users.

The federal government has also banned the app on government devices. All provinces and territories in Canada have followed the federal government’s steps, and several municipalities have also taken action.

ByteDance, a company based in Beijing, owns TikTok. WSJ reports global investors own 60 percent of the company’s shares, employees own 20 percent, and founders, including Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo, own the remaining 20 percent. “The founders’ shares carry outsize voting rights, as is common with tech companies,” the publication notes.

The company argues the forced sale wouldn’t address the U.S. government’s concerns.

“The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing,” a TikTok spokesperson told the publication.

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Source: Wall Street Journal 

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