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Report: Fears over Chinese ownership of TikTok grow as U.S. launches security investigation

Report: Fears over Chinese ownership of TikTok grow as U.S. launches security investigation
[Photo: Pongsawat Pasom/Unsplash]

TikTok, the short-video app that’s proven particularly popular with teens, is owned by a Chinese company called Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., and that’s raised fears among members of Congress about U.S. national security.

Now the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which regulates foreign ownership of U.S. companies, is probing ByteDance’s billion-dollar purchase of app Musical.ly, Reuters reports. CFIUS is reportedly talking to the company about steps it could take short of selling off the app to satisfy regulators’ concerns.

A prior CFIUS probe led to Chinese company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. Ltd. looking to sell off Grindr, the gay dating app, amid similar concerns.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, wrote to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire last week calling for an investigation into TikTok, concerned the app might be censoring content and collecting U.S. user data. The move comes as even domestic social networks such as Facebook and Twitter come under scrutiny over ad targeting and content regulation policies.

A TikTok spokesperson told Reuters the company is committed to earning regulators’ trust and working with Congress.

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