Comments come as legislation to ban the Chinese app in the US passes Congress.
The White House has said it is open to further action to curb TikTok as legislation to ban the Chinese app in the United States began to make its way through the US Congress.
The video-sharing service has more than a billion users worldwide, including more than 100 million in the US, where it has become a cultural force, especially among young people, that has set alarm bells ringing among lawmakers.
President Joe Biden’s administration is out to thwart China and other countries from “trying to use digital technologies and U.S. data in ways that pose unacceptable national security risks,” White House Press Secretary Olivia Dalton said. Tuesday.
“We will continue to look at other actions we can take, including how to work with Congress on this issue,” Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee was scheduled to vote later Tuesday on legislation introduced by Republicans that would give Biden the authority to completely ban TikTok in the US.
The bill would then be put to a vote in the House of Representatives, where it would likely pass.
Appearing harsh on China is one of the rare issues with potential for bipartisan support in both the Republican-led House and Senate, where Biden’s Democratic Party has a majority.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it opposes the recently introduced bill, arguing that it would restrict free speech.
“Congress should not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression,” said Jenna Leventoff, senior policy adviser to the ACLU.
The law will work its way through Congress as Western governments continue to ban TikTok from government devices, following a similar ban Biden signed into law in January.
The White House on Monday gave federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices, setting a deadline to comply with a ban.
TikTok sharply criticized the bans as “little more than political theater”.
“We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond the government’s apparatus, Congress will explore solutions that do not have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter told AFP. .
“Unfortunately, that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments,” Oberwetter said.
The Danish parliament announced on Tuesday that it has asked MPs and staff to remove TikTok from mobile devices due to the “risk of espionage”.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, banned the app on business devices to “protect” the institution, while the Canadian government this week banned TikTok from all its phones and devices.
TikTok has been waiting months for the findings of an assessment by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government agency that assesses the risks of foreign investment to national security.
“The quickest and most thorough way to address national security concerns is for CFIUS to approve the proposed agreement that we’ve been working on with them for nearly two years,” TikTok’s Oberwetter said.
TikTok, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has become a political target over concerns that the app could be evaded for espionage or propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok has repeatedly denied allegations that it is sharing data or handing over control to the Chinese government.
US national security concerns over alleged Chinese espionage skyrocketed in recent weeks after a Chinese balloon crossed US airspace and was eventually shot down.