As reported by Reuters, United States has opened a National Security review of the Beijing’s ByteDance Technology — parent company of the social media app TikTok.
In 2017, China-based ByteDance bought the American Lip Syncing app Music.ly (rebranded to TikTok) and all it’s user base for $1 billion. Since the deal, US lawmakers has been questioning TikTok how the company moderates its political content and stores its user data.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called for an investigation into the company and his letter writes that “Chinese-owned apps are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Community Party.”
It was also reported that TikTok was censoring political content that was offensive to the Chinese government, while the company says that its moderation decisions are based in the US and “are not influenced by any foreign government.
As per Reuters, United States has launched a review through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which is responsible for reviewing deals with national security implications. The report says that ByteDance’s TikTok did not go through a CFIUS review when it made the Musical.ly acquisition, and now the acquisition is under talks about national security concerns.
TikTok has been growing much more popular among teenagers in the United States in the same time of tensions between USA and China over trade and technology transfers. As told by the company, about 60% of TikTok’s 26.5 million monthly active users in the United States are between the ages of 16 and 24.