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TikTok's future in US still in limbo

2023 Aug 30, 16:52, Washington

The future of TikTok appears to be still in limbo as US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who is in China, is not planning to discuss the dance music-sharing platform and the sanctions imposed on the app, The New York Times reported.

Despite the intense pressure, the US government has still not taken any decision regarding TikTok, the news daily reported.

Raimondo arrived in China on Monday and met Chinese Premier Li Qiang, China’s vice premier, He Lifeng, and Commerce Minister Wang Wentao during her four-day visit.

The US has said that TikTok is a national threat as the app allows the Chinese government to consume private information about the user.

The app has been barred on government devices federally and in more than two dozen states, its chief executive was grilled before Congress in March and lawmakers have proposed legislation that would make it easier for the White House to ban tech companies owned by “foreign adversaries” like China, according to The New York Times.

Earlier, in March, Raimondo told reporters that this year if the administration banned TikTok, “the politician in me thinks you’re going to literally lose every voter under 35, forever.” (TikTok claims 150 million users in the United States.)

It’s also not clear if a ban would hold up in court. In March, when the Biden administration reportedly considered forcing a sale of TikTok by its Chinese owners, China’s Commerce Ministry quickly said that it opposed divestment and that the move would undercut foreign investment in the United States.

That has left the United States and TikTok to work out a plan for operating in America that addresses national security concerns, but those talks have stalled amid growing tensions between the two superpowers.

TikTok has been in years-long confidential talks with the administration’s review panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, to address questions about TikTok and ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese government and their handling of user data.

TikTok, which says it has never shared US user data with the Chinese government, has disclosed some details of its plan, known as Project Texas. It would put US user data into domestic servers owned and operated by Oracle, the software giant, and give the American government and Oracle unique oversight of the app, reported the New York Times.

Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said the conversations with CFIUS were “ongoing.” A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, which oversees CFIUS, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, US Intelligence officials have said Beijing could use TikTok to gain access to Americans’ sensitive data or manipulate its powerful algorithm to influence the content they see.

They have pointed to laws that allow the Chinese government to secretly demand data from Chinese companies and citizens for intelligence-gathering operations. TikTok has set up headquarters in Singapore and Los Angeles, though that has not stemmed the concerns, as per the New York Times. 


US china Gina Raimondo US China ties CFIUS TikTok
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