U.S. opens national security investigation into TikTok2019-11-01 18:42 by Daniela
The U.S. government has launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance's $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly, according to two people familiar with the matter. In 2017, China-based TikTok owner ByteDance bought up the popular American lip-syncing app — and its user base — for $1 billion. Last year, the app was fully rebranded as part of TikTok.
The review is conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency body that deals with national security concerns stemming from transactions involving overseas companies. The reasons for the review are concerns that the Chinese company may be censoring politically sensitive content, and raising questions about how it stores personal data. Several top senators have recently commented on the matter.
"Security experts have voiced concerns that China's vague patchwork of intelligence, national security, and cybersecurity laws compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party," Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote in a letter this month to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
The investigation is the latest hurdle for the company, which has dealt with intense scrutiny as the tech industry as a whole faces renewed questions about Chinese censorship online.
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