US Launches National Security Investigation Into TikTok: Report

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has started to review ByteDance’s takeover. 

Tech News
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The United States has launched a national security review of TikTok parent company ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of US social media app, news agency Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

While the $1 billion acquisition was completed two years back, US lawmakers have been calling for a national security probe into TikTok.

They are concerned about TikTok censoring politically sensitive content and raising questions about how it stores personal data.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has started to review the deal, the news agency reported. TikTok, according to Reuters, did not seek clearance from the CFIUS when it acquired, they added, which gives the US Security panel scope to investigate it now.


TikTok has been growing more popular among teenagers. At a time when tensions are high between Beijing and Washington over trade and technology transfer, about 60 percent of TikTok’s 26.5 million active users in the US are between the age of 16 to 24, the company said earlier this year.

The CFIUS is in talks with TikTok about the measures it could take to avoid divesting the assets it had acquired. However, details of that discussion could not be learned.

“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,” a TikTok spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying.

US Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Tom Cotton last week asked for a national security probe in a letter to the acting director of Nation Intelligence, saying that they were concerned about the video sharing platform’s collection of user data, and if China censors content seen in the US. TikTok could also be targeted by foreign influence campaigns.

TikTok however, says that it has no jurisdiction over the content of the app, which does not operate in China and is not influenced by any government.

Senator Marco Rubio had also asked CFIUS to review ByteDance’s acquisition of earlier this month. After the Reuters story, he tweeted saying that any Chinese company that collects massive amounts of data of Americans is a potential security threat.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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