The parent company of TikTok, the social media app known for its short, shareable video clips, is currently under a national security investigation by the U.S. government, Reuters revealed on Friday.
The probe was launched in relation to TikTok’s parent company, China-based Beijing ByteDance Technology, acquiring the United States social media app Musical.ly. The acquisition occurred two years ago, but recent questions have arisen regarding Bejing ByteDance’s potential censoring of political content, as well as its data storage policies. The company did not seek clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States when it acquired Musical.ly, giving the committee room to investigate the company.
The probe is being conducted by the CFIUS, a panel chaired by the U.S. Treasury with involvement from the State Department, the Department of Defense, and other federal bureaus.
Expressing concerns over the company’s handling of “sensitive personal data,” senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) said last Thursday that TikTok “is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.”