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US opens national security investigation into TikTok: sources – World

The US government UU. He launched a national security review of the acquisition of the US social media application Musical.ly by TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co, according to three people familiar with the matter.

While the $ 1 billion acquisition was completed two years ago, U.S. lawmakers have asked in recent weeks for a national security investigation into TikTok, worried that the Chinese company may be censoring politically sensitive content and raising questions about how it stores personal information.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews the agreements of foreign buyers for possible national security risks, has begun to review the Musical.ly agreement, sources said. TikTok did not seek authorization from CFIUS when it acquired Musical.ly, they added, which it gives to the US security panel. UU. The scope to investigate now.

The sources requested anonymity because CFIUS reviews are confidential.

Below are key facts about TikTok that competes with the likes of Snapchat of Snap Inc and Instagram and Lasso of Facebook Inc.

What is the TikTok?

TikTok allows users to upload short videos with special effects, many of which dance, jump and synchronize lips to make pop and music in the application. The application also offers easy-to-use editing tools, so users can simply edit the videos through their cell phones.

It is one of the most popular applications in the world with more than one billion downloads worldwide, according to the analysis firm Sensor Tower, becoming the first consumer application developed in China to reach international scale.

The application currently ranks fourth behind Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat as the most used social application in the US Google Play Store. UU., According to the researcher SimilarWeb.

The application has especially created a rumor among American teenagers. About 60% of its 26.5 million monthly active users there are between 16 and 24 years old, the company said earlier this year.


What is behind the popularity of TikTok?

TikTok's success in the US market can be largely attributed to its acquisition of the Musical.ly lip sync application in 2017.


Its features and users were later added to the TikTok platform, and the agreement helped TikTok monthly active users in the United States increase by 30 million in the three months after the merger, according to Apptopia application tracker.

What is the criticism against TikTok?

US Senator Marco Rubio in early October asked a U.S. national security panel to review the acquisition of Musical.ly by TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co, arguing that TikTok was being used by the Chinese government to censor politically sensitive content.

In a letter requesting the review, Rubio said that despite the Hong Kong protests that dominated international headlines for months, "the application only had a few videos" of the protests.

Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, intervened later and said the application censored political protests.

TikTok denies that China censures its content, saying that "it is not influenced by any foreign government."

What other regulatory challenges do you face?

In February, ByteDance agreed to pay a fine of $ 5.7 million to the United States Federal Trade Commission for the illegal collection of personal information of minors by TikTok.

In India, a local court ordered the federal government to temporarily ban new downloads of TikTok in April, saying the application encouraged pornography and could expose children to sexual predators.

How important is TikTok to ByteDance?

TikTok is the most successful ByteDance platform outside of China.

The seven-year startup, which according to sources was valued at $ 78 billion at the end of last year, also owns the Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, which means "Headlines today", as well as a domestic version of TikTok, known Like Douyin

He launched a foreign version of Jinri Toutiao, called TopBuzz, in 2015. However, a person close to the company says he is now exploring the sale of that platform.

ByteDance posted revenues of 50-60 billion yuan ($ 7 billion to $ 8.4 billion) in a better than expected result for the first half of this year, Reuters reported in September citing people familiar with the matter .

TikTok, also popular in India, Britain, France, Australia and Canada, is in the early stages of making money, while Douyin generates advertising fees, said one of the sources.

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1514852/us-opens-national-security-investigation-into-tiktok-sources

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