For years, TikTok has been negotiating with the U.S. government to avoid a potential ban on the app due to security issues. The draft of the TikTok agreement with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has leaked. Forbes first obtained a copy of this draft, and it shows that once finalized, the U.S. government would have unprecedented power over functions on TikTok — and, in some circumstances, might ban the app in the U.S.
Draft agreement between ByteDance/TikTok lawyers and the U.S. government
The 100-page document states that government agencies like the DOJ have the authority to examine TikTok’s facilities, block any changes to the app’s U.S. terms of service, exercise a veto against hiring U.S. data security teams and subject the company to various audits.
TikTok would also be subjected to third-party monitoring by a committee responsible for protecting U.S. national security. Both the Trump Administration and Biden Administration expressed fears that the lack of oversight of the China-based company exposes U.S. national security to an immense threat.
In the document, the ByteDance team argued against the provision where the U.S. government can unilaterally change parts of the contract. According to them, changing the data the company can access will affect its advertising and other business operations.
If this draft agreement is finalized, TikTok will have more regulation than any other social media platform. Since the draft was written a year ago, and both ByteDance and CFIUS are prevented by law from discussing the ongoing discussions, the path is not clear yet for TikTok regarding its U.S. operations. Previously some U.S. law courts have questioned the constitutionality of a complete TikTok ban, citing potential violations of free speech rights.