The US Biden administration has given an ultimatum to the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance: sell its US portion of the business or get slapped with the banhammer. The demand from the country’s government comes as its Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigate what they deem to be the improper collection of personal data of American users.

As a quick primer, the investigations into TikTok began late last year, after it was reported by the New York Times that the employees of the social media platform were improperly using the personal data of its users. Those users also included the date of two reporters. For the record, the employees were fired after the report got out, but by then, it was too late, as the US government was already on the warpath against the company, more so after it accused it of being a propaganda vehicle for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

At this point, you would imagine that China would step up to the stage, accusing the US of being impartial to a company like ByteDance, on the grounds that the brand’s headquarters is based in Beijing, and then proceed to reciprocate the ban threat with its own ban on a US-owned social media platform. Unfortunately for the Chinese powerhouse, it doesn’t possess the same clout, given how US-based social media and streaming platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are already banned in the country. And those bans predate the advent of TikTok.

This isn’t the first time TikTok has come under fire from the Biden administration either. Some of you may remember back in 2020, when Donald Trump was still in the White House, the former US President also signed several executive orders that targeted the short video sharing platform, unless ByteDance sold or divested its US business. Ultimately, the company did find buyers in Walmart and Oracle, but after the Biden administration came into power, news about the arrangement fell silent. At least, up until now.

(Source: Techspot, Nikkei, AsiaTimes)

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