US Government Demands ByteDance to Divest from TikTok Over National Security Concerns

Russell Kidson
Mar 16, 2023
Updated • Mar 16, 2023

The US government's demand for the sale or potential ban of TikTok has sent ripples throughout the tech industry and beyond, with many questioning the implications of such a move. The popular app's Chinese ownership and its vast data collection practices, including biometric and location data, have raised significant concerns about the potential for sensitive information to be accessed by foreign governments. 

Related: TikTok’s shady business practices revealed

The request for a change in ownership, which was initially reported by the Wall Street Journal, has been confirmed by TikTok, and has sparked debate about the role of national security in the digital age. As tensions between the US and China continue to escalate, the future of TikTok remains uncertain, and its fate may have far-reaching consequences for the global tech industry.

In response to the US government's call for a change in ownership, TikTok has maintained that a forced sale would not impact its data flows or access. However, the uncertainty surrounding the potential divestiture has left many questions unanswered, and the lack of response to many media outlets from the White House has only added to the confusion. 

This issue has been a long-standing concern for American officials, who fear that TikTok's data collection practices could make the app vulnerable to exploitation by the Chinese government. As tensions between the US and China continue to mount, the fate of TikTok remains uncertain, and its ability to maintain its popularity and user base in the US may be at risk.

Related: Gen Z still prefers TikTok for news

As per the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) has unanimously recommended ByteDance divest from TikTok to create a clear break from China. The CFIUS oversees national security risks in the US. A spokesperson for TikTok has acknowledged the WSJ's report and confirmed that it was contacted by the CFIUS. 

However, the spokesperson said that the reporting was exaggerated, and it was unclear what "divestiture" meant in practice. The spokesperson further added that changing ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access. According to the spokesperson, the best way to address national security concerns is through transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems.

The prospect of a TikTok ban in the US was initially raised in 2020 under the Trump administration. However, President Biden's administration has also expressed concerns about the social network. TikTok collects vast amounts of user data, including biometric and location data, similar to other social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. There are concerns that this information could be shared with the Chinese government. In response to these concerns, TikTok has initiated a plan called Project Texas to relocate all US-based data to the US.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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