The owners of TikTok are being urged by the Biden administration to sell stakes in the app or risk facing a ban in the U.S.
According to TikTok officials, the company was contacted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) suggesting that ByteDance sell its stake in the social media app.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said divestment would not solve the problem, as a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data access.
"The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting and verification, which we are already implementing," he added.
This marks the first time the social media app had been threatened by the Biden administration with a ban.
TikTok will continue to push its $1.5 billion plan “Project Texas,” which aims to strengthen the firewall between TikTok and ByteDance employees. The company will also be working with U.S. software maker Oracle to store U.S. data in the U.S., manage algorithms and moderate content.
The app has been under fire in recent months over growing concerns about user data privacy and safety.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is slated to testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week.