US to investigate video-sharing app TikTok over national security concerns

The U.S. government has launched a national security investigation into the popular Chinese-owned app TikTok, Reuters reported on Friday.

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The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (sometimes referred to by its acronym CFIUS) has started a broad review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology's $1 billion acquisition of Musical.ly, the popular lip-syncing video app that already had a fanatical fan base in the U.S. Since the two apps merged, they've amassed a staggering 1 billion users worldwide.

Although the acquisition occurred two years ago, U.S. lawmakers have been calling for an investigation in recent weeks over concerns the social media company is censoring politically sensitive content.

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A report in The Guardian last month outlined how TikTok censors videos that mention Tiananmen Square, the site of a 1989 massacre; Tibetan independence or the banned religious group Falun Gong — and how the app tries to advance Chinese foreign policy aims.

A TikTok spokesperson told FOX Business the company was unable to comment on ongoing regulatory matters.

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"TikTok has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the U.S.," the spokesperson said. "Part of that effort includes working with Congress and we are committed to doing so.”

CFIUS, which reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, opened a review into the Musical.ly deal, according to Reuters, which cited two people familiar with the matter. When it acquired Musical.ly, TikTok did not seek clearance from the body, giving the U.S. security panel reason to investigate it now.

CFIUS is in talks with TikTok about measures it could take to avoid divesting the Musical.ly assets, Reuters reported. The specific details of the talks, as well as the concerns that the committee has with TikTok, are still unclear.

Information filed with CFIUS may not be disclosed to the public, a Treasury Department spokesperson said.

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