Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

US government insisting TikTok owners sell up

The US government is reportedly demanding that TikTok be sold, or else face a ban.

The Wall Street Journal led with reports that ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, is being pressured by The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to sell its stake in the popular social network.

This report has been followed by corroborating stories from other respected publications. The BBC, for example, as since confirmed the veracity of the story with TikTok.

It’s the latest and most severe move from US legislators afraid of the potential for TikTok to hand over user data to the Chinese government. A number of countries (including both the US and the UK) have banned TikTok from government phones.

Of course, America’s threat of a full nationwide band would be difficult to push through. The Trump administration attempted something similar back in 2020, but was blocked by the US courts.

It seems only 20 percent of ByteDance shares are owned by the company’s founders, with another 20 percent belonging to employees. The majority 60 percent belongs to global investors.

As is common with tech companies, however, the 20 percent shares owned by the founders are said to carry extra voting rights.

TikTok, for its part, rejects any allegations of spying, and has spent more than $1.5 billion on data security in a bid to put US legislators at ease. Last week the company announced Project Clover, which is an initiative that will store user data on servers in Ireland and Norway, with a third party IT company vetting and data that leaves Europe.

“The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification,” said TikTok.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.