Is the US banning TikTok? White House wants social media app's parent company ByteDance to divest

White House Pressures TikTok’s Parent Company ByteDance for Divestment Amid Potential US Ban

In Washington, the White House made it clear on Sunday that it stands behind a bill that has sparked debate. This bill aims to sever the connection between China and the popular app TikTok by compelling TikTok’s Chinese parent company to sell the app or risk it being banned in the United States.

John Kirby, a national security communications adviser at the White House, shared on ABC News’ “This Week” that the administration is aware of the concerns shared by many American TikTok users. Kirby emphasized, “This isn’t about wanting to ban TikTok. We recognize the significant role it plays in the economic lives of many.”

The administration’s goal, according to Kirby, is not to ban TikTok but to separate it from its parent company, ByteDance, based in China. ByteDance has strongly opposed this legislation, arguing that the concerns over data usage are baseless.

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also entered the conversation, revealing plans to gather investors for a potential bid to purchase TikTok. Kirby expressed the administration’s viewpoint, stating, “We advocate for the divestment from ByteDance due to data security concerns. It’s important for Americans to be cautious about the potential misuse of their data by ByteDance and the Chinese Communist Party.”

Additionally, Kirby commented on Israel’s announcement of military plans to invade Rafah in southern Gaza amidst its conflict with Hamas following a terror attack in October. He mentioned, “We wouldn’t support such an operation unless the safety and security of the 1.5 million refugees in Rafah can be guaranteed.”

The U.S. continues to urge Israel to minimize civilian casualties and to facilitate the entry of more aid trucks. The aim is to support efforts towards a temporary ceasefire to ensure the safe release of hostages. Kirby responded to queries about President Joe Biden’s stance on a Rafah invasion, highlighting Biden’s concern for civilian safety above all.

Kirby also discussed the U.S.’s ongoing “emergency” mission to build a floating pier off Gaza’s coast to improve the flow of humanitarian aid into the area. This mission involves intricate planning to ensure the secure distribution of materials within Gaza.

Regarding the question of U.S. military presence in Gaza, Kirby did not provide a direct answer. Meanwhile, the White House is also focusing on providing additional military support to Ukraine amidst its struggle against Russia’s invasion. This comes as legislative efforts have been delayed due to debates over immigration policy.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has indicated a resolution might be reached soon with the support of Democratic votes. Kirby stressed the urgency of the situation, noting the dwindling ammunition supplies in the Donbass region and the need for immediate support for Ukraine.

This ongoing dialogue and series of actions underscore the complex interplay of international relations, security concerns, and the global impact of technology and conflict.