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China warns US on TikTok ban
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China warns US on TikTok ban and calls it a threatening act

China has reacted to the US action against the short video app TikTok. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has termed the possible TikTok ban by the US as an act of bullying.

Highlights 

US legislators have approved a bill targeting the Chinese short video app TikTok, citing concerns over privacy risks and potential misinformation targeting US citizens.

To mitigate these perceived risks, they have introduced legislation requiring ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, to divest the application to an American company. Failure to comply would result in a complete ban of the app in the United States.

China has condemned this move, labeling it as bullying. The Chinese foreign ministry has warned that such actions may have unintended consequences. 

Why is this anti-TikTok law?

US officials and lawmakers harbor significant apprehensions regarding data privacy issues associated with the Chinese short video application TikTok. Under Chinese law, the government can compel any company owned by them to share data. 

Given that ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is a Chinese company with extensive data on US citizens, there’s concern that if the Chinese government requests this data, TikTok ban would be obligated to comply, posing a potential threat to US interests and its citizens.

Moreover, there are concerns that TikTok’s algorithm could potentially manipulate users by presenting them with propaganda or anti-American content, further exacerbating the perceived risks associated with the app.

This is why Christopher A. Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, raised concerns against the app last year. 

The recently introduced bill will prevent China from controlling the data of the US people. According to the bill, ByteDance will have to sell the app to any American company. The government will remove the app from all app stores if the company doesn’t. Also, websites or stores that do not remove the app will have to face legal action. 

Chinese Reaction on TikTok Ban

On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry responded to the matter. Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, conveyed to CNN that despite the absence of evidence demonstrating how TikTok poses a threat to US national security, the US persists in targeting the app.

Wang further accused US officials of engaging in acts of bullying and cautioned them about potential future repercussions. He remarked, “This will eventually backfire on the US itself.”

TikTok’s reaction 

TikTok has dismissed the concerns as unfounded, highlighting that approximately 60% of the company is owned by global institutional investors, including major financial entities such as Susquehanna International Group and BlackRock.

Additionally, the company’s representatives emphasized that three out of the five members of its board are Americans. TikTok has also invested over $1 billion to ensure the security of American users’ data within the United States.

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