TikTok is considering drastic action in an effort to avoid a US ban, including the possibility of splitting from parent ByteDance.
TikTok is increasingly under fire over privacy and security concerns. The company is owned by China-based ByteDance, raising concerns over national security, given China’s long history of surveillance and state-backed hacking.
Facing a possible US ban, as well as increased restrictions in Canada and the EU, TikTok is considering what would once have been unthinkable, according to Bloomberg. According to the outlet’s sources, the measure is considered a last-ditch option, only to be used if existing efforts to appease national security officials fail. Even then, such a measure would have to be approved by the Chinese government, something that likely has a low chance of happening.
In the meantime, TikTok is emphasizing the measures it is already taking to comply with US demands:
“Neither a ban of TikTok nor a divestiture of TikTok from ByteDance does anything to address national security concerns about data transfers,” said Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok. “Under Project Texas, TikTok data for our US users would be held to a significantly higher security standard than any comparable American company.”