China Says US Is Spreading Misinformation, Deleting TikTok

BEIJING — China on Thursday accused the United States of spreading misinformation and deleting TikTok following reports that the Biden administration was calling on its Chinese owners to sell their shares in the popular video-sharing app.

The United States has yet to present 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, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wang Wenbin to reporters at a daily press briefing.

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

TikTok on Wednesday dismissed a Wall Street Journal report that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, part of the Treasury Department, was threatening to ban the app in the United States unless its owners, ByteDance Ltd. , based in Beijing, do not divest.

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

Shanahan said TikTok is already addressing concerns with “transparent, US-based protection of US users’ data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, control 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 erase TikTok from all government devices. Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and the State Department, have already implemented restrictions. The White House already does not allow TikTok on its devices.

Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December as part of a sweeping government funding package. Legislation allows TikTok to be used in certain circumstances, including for national security, law enforcement, and research purposes.

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

TikTok remains extremely popular and is used by two-thirds of teenagers in the United States. But there are growing concerns that Beijing could gain control over US user data the app has obtained and push pro-Beijing narratives and propaganda on the app.

China has long been concerned about the influence of social media and communication apps overseas and has banned many of the best-known apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.


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