Regulators launch national security review of TikTok


TS Addict
Staff member

TikTok's meteoric rise hasn't been without its kinks, and at least two US senators have recently set off the alarm bell about the potential issues around parent company, ByteDance. A lot of younger people are drawn to work for the app -- even Facebook employees -- but all of this has also drawn the attention of regulators.

According to a new report from Reuters, the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) has opened a national security review of ByteDance, a Chinese company that acquired lip-syncing app in 2017 for $1 billion and later rebranded it as TikTok.

The problem with the acquisition is that ByteDance didn't ask for approval from the CFIUS, so the committee now has "the scope to investigate it." Back in March, the CFIUS looked into Kunlun Tech's buyout of Grindr, and found that the foreign ownership had national security risks that were too high for comfort, so it pushed for a sale.

TikTok has been facing a lot of scrutiny as of late due to its alleged ties with the Chinese government and loose privacy guidelines, the latter of which have resulted in FTC fining it to the tune of $5.7 million. Then it was found that the app censored content related to the Hong Kong protests, which raised the eyebrows of two US senators who promptly called the practice into question in a letter they sent to intelligence agencies.

As for ByteDance, last week they published a statement defending itself against the scrutiny. They say TikTok didn't remove content "based on sensitivities related to China," and that it wouldn't do so if asked by the Chinese government.

The company explained that it doesn't operate in China and that US user data is stored locally with "backup redundancy in Singapore." And while it didn't comment on the "ongoing regulatory processes," the company believes it has "made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the US."

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Actually I am surprised that such a review is not mandatory for any social media or large volume web site. There is so much prevalence of this kind of criminal activity that a good first step in cleaning it up would be for EVERY site to pass this kind of scrutiny. Granted, it won't stop it all but every step is important and valuable and will act as somewhat of a deterrence along with strong laws to slow down or even stop so much criminal activity.


TS Evangelist
I have nothing against Chinese people but their government is a relic artifact of worst communism brought in humans.


TS Guru
Sad to see the government was slow on Tik Tok. Most tech people knew it was a Chinese owned company for quite a while now.