Exclusive: U.S. open national security investigation in TikTok – sources

Exclusive: U.S. open national security investigation in TikTok – sources

NEW YORK/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government launched a national review of the security of the TikTok owner of Beijing byte dance Technology Co, a $1 billion acquisition of US-based social media app-the Musical.ly, according to three persons familiar with the issue.

While the $1 billion acquisition of the US was completed two years ago, legislators in recent weeks for the national security probe into TikTok, worried can be the Chinese companies, the censorship of politically sensitive content, and raising questions about how it stores your personal data.

TikTok was becoming more and more popular among U.S. teenagers in a time of growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology transfers. About 60% of the TikTok is 26.5 million monthly active users in the United States are between the ages of 16 and 24, the company said this year.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews deals from foreign buyers for potential national security risks, check started to be, the Musical.ly offer, said the sources. TikTok is not after the approval by CFIUS, when it acquired Musical.ly, added to to investigate the the US-American security panel area it is now.

CFIUS is in talks with TikTok about measures they could take to prevent us from the Musical.ly the assets acquired, the sources said. Details of these talks, referred to by CFIUS as a damage limitation could not be learned. The specific problems that CFIUS could not be learned.

the sources, who requested anonymity because CFIUS to treat reviews as confidential.

“we cannot comment on the ongoing regulatory processes, TikTok has made it clear that we have no higher priority than the confidence of users and regulators in the U.S. part of this effort includes working with the Congress, and we are obliged to do so,” a TikTok spokesman said. Byte dance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“By law, information filed may not be placed with CFIUS open by CFIUS to the public,” said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Treasury, which chairs CFIUS. She added that the Treasury “to comment on, information to specific CFIUS cases, including the cases as to whether or not certain parties notes for the review have been filed.”

last week, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Tom Cotton asked for the national security probe in a letter to Joseph MacGuire’s, the Deputy Director of national intelligence.

you said you were concerned about the video-sharing platform, the collection of user data, and whether or not China is seen as censorship of content that the US-users. They also suggested that TikTok could be, targeted by foreign influence campaigns.

On Friday, Schumer’s message to the probe welcomed in an emailed statement, calling it a “review of our concern is that apps like TikTok…can pose a serious risk to millions of Americans, and deserve to be scrutinised more closely.”

TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects. The company said the US data of the user stored that noted in the United States, but the senators that byte dance is subject to the Chinese laws.

TikTok China says does not have jurisdiction over the contents of the app and doesn’t work in China, and is not influenced by a foreign government.

Last month, the Musical.ly’s founder, Alex Zhu, the head of the TikTok team began to report directly to byte dance CEO Zhang Yiming, one of the sources said. He previously Zhang Nan, the head of the byte dance reported Douyin, a Chinese short-video app. It was not clear whether this move, which was TikTok separated organizationally from byte dance other establishments, in connection with the company’s discussions with CFIUS over mitigation.

In October, U.S. senator Marco Rubio asked CFIUS, the acquisition of the Musical check byte dance.ly. He cited questions why TikTok had “only a couple of videos from the Hong Kong protests, the international headlines for months, dominate.”

According to the Reuters story of the CFIUS investigation appeared, Rubio tweeted: “Any platform, which is owned by a company in China, the huge data accumulated quantities over the Americans, a potential serious threat to our country.”

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley said in a tweet that TikTok testify to at a hearing next week on the technology companies to put consumers ‘ data at risk in China.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose product competes with TikTok especially for younger users, has also criticised the fact that the app relates to the censorship.

The United States has been increasingly challenged app developers about the personal data that you have to hand, especially if some of it includes the U.S. military or intelligence personnel.

the Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd, said in may he would seek the sale of its popular gay dating app Grindr, according to CFIUS approached him with the national security concerns.

Last year, CFIUS forced China’s Ant Financial scrap to buy plans, MoneyGram International Inc, concerns about the security of the data could recognize that the citizens of the US.

The panel also ocean wide Holdings and Genworth Financial Inc forced to work, a U.S. third-party data administrator to ensure the Chinese company could not on the insurer  US customers personal private data.

byte dance RISE

byte dance is one of China’s fastest-growing Start-UPS. It owns the country’s leader in news-aggregator, Jinri Toutiao, as well as TikTok, which has attracted stars such as Ariana Grande and Katy Perry.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the TikTok application seen on a phone screen in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration/File Photo

byte dance is one of the Japanese technology giant SoftBank venture company Sequoia Capital and the big private equity firms such as KKR, General Atlantic and Hillhouse Capital group as a lender.

analysts byte dance called a strong threat to other Chinese tech-industry companies-including social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and search engine market leader Baidu Inc. Worldwide, byte dance apps have 1.5 billion monthly active users and 700 million daily active users, the company said in July.

The seven-year-old Chinese start-up, reported a better-than-expected sales for the first half of the year 2019 to more than $ 7 billion, and was valued at $78 billion last year, sources told Reuters.

reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Echo Wang in New York, Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Alexandra Alper in Washington, DC; editing by David Gregorio and Chris Sanders

Our Standards:Thomson Reuters Trust principles.

Released on Sat, 02 Nov 2019 02:00:10 +0000

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