The future of the popular social media app TikTok is in doubt as the U.S. government takes a harder line against the Chinese-owned company. The Wall Street Journal reports that the government has demanded that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, sell its shares in the app or face a national ban.

This move comes as Western powers, including the European Union and the United States, grow increasingly concerned about the potential misuse of user data by Chinese officials. These fears were heightened earlier this year after a Chinese spy balloon was shot down in U.S. airspace.

Two white balloons float outside the Chinese embassy in Washington as part of an activist’s protest over the alleged surveillance craft shot down over the U.S. Photo AFP

The White House has welcomed a new bill that would give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok altogether. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the bill “would empower the United States government to prevent certain foreign governments from exploiting technology services… in a way that poses risks to Americans’ sensitive data and our national security.”

With both the Senate and the White House in support of the bill, the momentum against TikTok is growing rapidly. It is also facing a separate piece of legislation in the House of Representatives. The future of the app is uncertain, and it remains to be seen whether ByteDance will comply with the U.S. government’s demands or face a national ban.

By Grady Owen

After training a pack of Raptors on Isla Nublar, Owen Grady changed his name and decided to take a job as an entertainment writer. Now armed with a computer and the internet, Grady Owen is prepared to deliver the best coverage in movies, TV, and music for you.