Popular Video App TikTok Under Investigation By U.S. National Security

U.S. regulators have launched an investigation into ByteDance, the Chinese owner of the popular application TikTok.

According to Variety, regulators are looking into the potential national security risks due to the fact that ByteDance is based in China. The company obtained Musically for $1 billion in November of 2017, afterward merged the app with its own TikTok video service.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States will be handling the investigation, which is a normal practice for the department. However, because ByteDance didn’t seek approval for the deal upon its finalization, regulators are being forced to look into the deal now.

The investigation was called by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) last month. During that time, the two called TikTok “a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.”

“We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government,” TikTok said in response to Schumer’s and Cotton’s demands last month. “TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future.”

Reports say there are rumors circulating that TikTok censored some posts about pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in the past couple of weeks, however, ByteDance denies this has happened.

“TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China,” the company said. “We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period.”

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