The United States could force TikTok to sell its American subsidiary

The pressure continues to mount across the Atlantic around TikTok. US government officials want the social network’s activities in the United States to be sold in order to minimize the influence of the Chinese authorities, according to information obtained by our colleagues from the wall street journal.

Foreign Investment Committee Proposal

The measure was proposed by officials from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency government group tasked with analyzing national security concerns raised by foreign companies. Within the group, representatives of the Pentagon and the Department of Justice would be in favor of a sale of the subsidiary of ByteDance.

According to officials, this measure could prevent the risk of interference and espionage in the country. “We are talking about a government that, according to our own intelligence community, aims to evolve the use and global standards of technology in order to favor its own interests and values, which are not compatible with ours.“, expressed the deputy attorney general of the United States, Lisa Monaco, without quoting TikTok by name.

Towards a legal imbroglio

Experts from the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States could officially formulate the proposal to Joe Biden, who has the power to force the sale. But the Treasury Department, which chairs the group, fears that such a decision could lead to an administrative blockage. If the president were to sign the order forcing ByteDance to sell its American subsidiary, legal remedies spread over several months could take place, paving the way for the outright cancellation of the act.

contacted by wall street journal, TikTok declined to comment on the Committee’s proposal. The Chinese social network says it can provide sufficient guarantees to the American authorities in terms of national security.

A compromise solution accepted by TikTok

Since 2020, the short video social network has been negotiating with Washington to ensure greater transparency in the security of American user data. Following these discussions, TikTok would have agreed that the data of users across the Atlantic be managed by a subsidiary called TikTok US Data Security Inc, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In this context, only employees of TikTok US Data Security could have access to the data. The company would be managed by several managers, including the company Oracle, in charge of hosting content on its servers. The American company could also examine the platform’s video recommendation algorithm. A middle ground that would not provide enough independence from the Chinese government, according to Committee officials.

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