US Opens National Security Investigation TikTok- A Chinese Owned App
The US government has opened a national security investigation into the Chinese-owned video app TikTok, the New York Times reported Friday.
A review could look into the acquisition in 2017 of TikTok, which at the time was known as Musical.ly, by China-based ByteDance.
The deal gave the Chinese company the app, which has been popular with youth for homemade karaoke videos and which now has an estimated 500 million users worldwide.
The news comes after lawmakers called for a review of the national security risks of TikTok, warning it could be used for spying by Beijing China.
The report, citing anonymous sources, said the review by an intergovernmental panel may be looking into whether the app, popular for its music videos, was sending data to China.
The report said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has led the investigation, a government panel that reviews acquisitions in the United States by foreign companies.
Rubio tweet “Last month I asked @USTreasury to conduct a CFIUS review of @tiktok_us,”.
A Republican Senator Marco Rubio welcomed news about the review.
“Because any platform owned by a company in China which collects huge amounts of data. Americans are a potentially serious threat to our country.”
Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer last week suggested that ByteDance owner of TikTok’s could be forced to share user information with Chinese intelligence.
The two senators said in a letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, In US alone TikTok downloaded more than 110 million times.” TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,”
The senators also warned that TikTok could potentially be used to influence voters in next year’s election in the same way Russians manipulated US social media in the 2016 campaign.
TikTok said it could not comment on any regulatory matter but noted that it “has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the US.”
“We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government.”Last week, TikTok sought to distance itself from China, saying
It said the company’s data centers are located outside China and “none of our data is subject to Chinese law,”
The US Treasury, which coordinates CFIUS reviews, said it could not comment on whether or not a review was in the works.
A Treasury spokesman said “By law, information filed with CFIUS may not be disclosed by CFIUS to the public.