April 20, 2024

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China urges US to stop unnecessary attacks on TikTok

China urges US to stop unnecessary attacks on TikTok

China on Thursday condemned the United States’ “unjustified attacks” against TikTok, after an ultimatum from the Biden administration urged the app’s Chinese parent company to split with it under pain of a ban on US soil.

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Beijing has challenged the world power to “provide evidence” for its allegations if Washington cites national security grounds for attacking the site of short videos popular among young people.

As stated therein Wall Street Journal and other US dailies, the White House has issued an ultimatum: If TikTok remains under its China-based parent company ByteDance, it will be banned in the US.

TikTok confirmed to AFP that the US government has recommended that its owner replace the application.

Amid intense Beijing-Washington rivalry over trade and new technology, many US lawmakers and leaders say the app poses a national security threat.

TikTok has been accused by its critics of giving Chinese authorities access to user data around the world, which the app vehemently denies.

“The United States must stop spreading misinformation on data security issues and stop unwarranted attacks [contre TikTok] Provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Thursday.

Washington “has not yet provided any evidence that TikTok threatens US national security,” he said at a regular press conference in Beijing.

Even England

Under legislation approved in early January, the White House has already banned federal agency officials from having the app on their smartphones.

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TikTok stores US user data on servers in the US. The application acknowledged that China-based employees have access, but under a strict and limited framework, not the Chinese government.

“If the goal is to protect national security, debundling does not solve the problem: changing (use) ownership does not mean imposing new restrictions on the flow of data or access to these,” a spokesperson responded. TikTok was contacted by AFP.

“The best way to address national security concerns is to use the nation’s US user data protection systems, with robust oversight and third-party verifications, which we already have in place,” he added.

The European Commission and the Canadian government also recently banned the app from their government employees’ work devices.

Britain, a close US ally, is preparing to make a similar decision, British media reported on Thursday.

Before YouTube

A few days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping condemned the “policy of containment, encirclement and repression against China” brought about by “the West led by the United States”.

The comments were made in the context of US attacks against Chinese tech giants such as TikTok or telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei. US also imposes restrictions on semiconductor exports to Chinese companies.

TikTok’s popularity, beyond its original audience of teenagers, has exploded with the Covid-19 pandemic. The app has over 100 million users in the US.

YouTube has overtaken Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in the amount of time American adults spend on each platform in recent years, and now Netflix is ​​hot on its heels, according to Insider Intelligence.

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The powerful American civil liberties group, the ACLU, has opposed bills against the application in the name of freedom of expression.

In Europe, facing mistrust from public authorities, TikTok promised AFP in early March that it was working with a “partner” to guarantee that its users’ data was safe.