The Biden administration is warning that TikTok, the popular social media platform, could be banned in the United States if the Chinese owner ByteDance doesn't sell its stake in the US version of the app.
Officials from the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), an interagency task force, made the demand to ByteDance due to national security concerns.
However, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew stated that forcing Bytedance to sell it would not address the national security concerns.
The CFIUS previously claimed it needs to approve ByteDance's acquisition of video-sharing app Musical.
ly, which was rebranded as TikTok.
The Wall Street Journal and other US news outlets reported that the White House set an ultimatum, and this threatens an escalation in the ongoing scrutiny of TikTok on Capitol Hill.
The app has faced bipartisan criticism over fears that the Chinese government could improperly access the data of US users.
Since TikTok is not available in China, the Chinese government cannot access the data of American users.
TikTok's spokespersons claim that the best way to address concerns about national security is through transparent, US-based protection of US user data.
The warning from the US government reportedly marks a shift in policy towards the popular social media platform as the Chinese-based company is instructed to give up their shares in the app.
The Trump administration was previously pursuing a TikTok ban in 2020, but a federal court blocked it.
Meanwhile, the UK and New Zealand have recently imposed new TikTok restrictions on government devices because of security concerns.
The concern about the app's ownership structure lies in the amount of data that TikTok can access about its users, given it is the first Chinese-developed social media platform to find mainstream success in the US.