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TikTok set to remove executive tasked with fending off US claims, sources say

Jennifer Jacobs, Kurt Wagner and Alex Barinka, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — TikTok is preparing to remove a key executive responsible for convincing the U.S. government that the company was doing enough to stave off national security concerns about its connections to China, according to people familiar with the matter.

Erich Andersen, the U.S.-based general counsel for TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance Ltd., has led years-long talks with the American government meant to show that the app was doing enough to prevent China from accessing U.S. users’ data or influencing what they see on their feeds.

Those efforts failed to win over an interagency government panel conducting a security review of the app and lawmakers in Washington weighing legislation that would force its divestiture. On Saturday, the U.S. House approved a bill requiring TikTok to be sold by its Chinese parent or face a ban in the U.S.

The company is planning for Andersen to exit his current role, according to the people, who discussed the move on condition of anonymity. Andersen remains with the company for now, according to one of the people.

Andersen referred questions to the company’s communications team.


“That is 100% false,” said TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek, when asked for comment on whether the company is set to remove Andersen from his role.

That divest-or-ban legislation is now accelerating toward becoming law, with the Senate prepared to pass the measure next week. President Joe Biden has already said he would sign the legislation, mandating a sale of TikTok within a year.

Andersen joined the social media company in 2020 from Microsoft Corp., where he was most recently corporate vice president and chief IP counsel.

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