US calls TikTok for a US National Security Investigation

The US government orders a US National Security Investigation to TikTok. The US government launches a security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co’s $1 billion acquisition of the TikTok app for an investigation due to the concerns of censoring sensitive political data and also questions about how the Chinese based company stores the users’ personal data.

In 2017, the TikTok owner ByteDance purchased the American lip-syncing app Musical.ly for a cost of $1 billion, and the app was rebranded as TikTok last year. However, the $1 billion acquisition was over two years ago. The US lawmakers again have been raising questions to the TikTok about how they manage the users content and censor political data.

In between the political tension between Beijing and Washington, TikTok has been becoming popular between the US citizens. Especially, the youngsters between the age of 16 and 24. The TikTok has 26.5 million active users in the US alone. The company says among that, 60 percent are the youngsters between the age of 16 and 24.

Also, The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) also starts reviewing the Musical.ly deal. The CFIUS is responsible for reviewing foreign deals for security risks. CFIUS says that TikTok did not ask for clearance during their deal with the American lip-syncing app Musical.ly. So this gives the security panel of the US a scope to review the TikTok.

CFIUS is taking steps that is talking to the TikTok company and holding them from acquiring the Musical.ly assets. A spokesman of US Treasury Department says, “By law, information filed with CFIUS to the public. Treasury does not comment on information relating to specific CFIUS cases, including whether or not certain parties have filed notices for review”.

A TikTok spokesman says, “While we cannot comment on ongoing regulatory processes, TikTok has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the US Part of that effort includes working with Congress and we are committed to doing so”.

Last week, the US senators sent a letter to the Joseph Maguire, the director of National Intelligence asking for a National Security probe. They mentioned that about their concern in the video-sharing platform and their management of the users content and political content. Schumer says “validation of our concern that apps like TikTok…may pose serious risks to millions of Americans and deserve greater scrutiny”.

Last month, the head of TikTok, Alex Zhu, started reporting to the CEO Zhang Yiming of ByteDance. Actually, Alex Zhu was previously reporting to Zhang Nan, the head of ByteDance’s Domain, a Chinese short video app. It is thought that this move is because of the CFIUS. Many senators and CEO have raised their voice against the TikTok.

Say, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has raised concerns about the censorship issues. US senator Marco Rubio also questioned TikTok that it “only had a few videos of the Hong Kong protests that have been dominating international headlines for months”. After the investigation, Rubio tweeted “Any platform owned by a company in China which collects massive amounts of data on Americans is a potential serious threat to our country”.

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