US politicians have been expressing unease about TikTok and its Chinese parent company Bytedance in recent weeks. Now it seems the latter company is facing a national-security review of its 2017 acquisition of social app Musical·ly, which it subsequently merged into TikTok.
Reuters reported that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is reviewing the deal, in part because Bytedance / TikTok did not seek its clearance at the time. “CFIUS is in talks with TikTok about measures it could take to avoid divesting the Musical.ly assets it acquired,” claimed Reuters.
The review has been called for by several politicians, including US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and senator Marco Rubio, on grounds including how TikTok deals with user data, as well as how it censors content created by those users. “Any platform owned by a company in China which collects massive amounts of data on Americans is a potential serious threat to our country,” tweeted Rubio after news of the review broke.
TikTok says that it’s cooperating with the review: “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 U.S. Part of that effort includes working with Congress and we are committed to doing so,” its spokesperson told Reuters.