China on Thursday accused the United States of spreading disinformation and cracking down on TikTok after reports that the Biden administration had asked the Chinese owner of the popular social media platform, ByteDance, Ltd., to sell its stake in the app.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that America has not presented evidence that TikTok threatens the country’s national security and that it was using data security as an excuse to abuse its power to suppress foreign companies.
“The US should stop spreading misinformation about data security, stop suppressing the relevant company, and provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for foreign businesses to invest and operate in the US,” Wenbin said.
The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported that the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment is threatening to ban the app in the US unless ByteDance takes it down.
BIDEN ADMIN THREATS BAN IF CHINESE OWNERS OF TIKTOK DON’T SELL STAKES
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin answers a question during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on August 8, 2022. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Department of Finance declined to comment on the matter.
Earlier this month, US National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone warned about Tiktok’s data collection and algorithm and “controlling who owns the algorithm.”
“If the goal is to protect national security, divestment does not solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose new restrictions on data flows or access,” TikTok spokeswoman Maureen Shanahan told FOX Business in an email.
TikTok app on phone screen on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
CHINA CAN USE “PROPAGANDA” TOOLS TOO MUCH, IT SHOULD BE “ABSOLUTELY” PROHIBITED, SEN. SAYS THE NOTES
Shanahan said the social media app has already responded to concerns “through transparent protection of US user data and systems with robust third-party monitoring, analysis and verification.”
The TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday, March 9, 2023. (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News and Fox Business Digital.