TikTok

U.S. Government Opens Official National Security Investigation Into TikTok

The inquiry from the Department of Commerce is looking into TikTok’s acquistion of Musical.ly in 2017.

Following outcry from lawmakers, the U.S. government has opened an official national security review into TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, over its acquisition of the music social media app Musical.ly, according to a Reuters report.

As TikTok, a video sharing app, has attracted over 110 million downloads in the U.S., legislators like Sen. Chuck Schumer have called on the intelligence community to investigate how ByteDance stories Americans’ personal data and how the company may be censoring politically sensitive content.

Now, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a part of the Commerce Department, has opened an inquiry into how ByteDance acquired Musical.ly, an American company used by mostly young people to share short music videos. Musical.ly was fully rebranded as TikTok in 2018.

The $1 billion acquisition was completed two years ago, but because ByteDance did not seek clearance from the committee when it acquired Musical.ly, CFIUS has authority to investigate the deal. CFIUS is tasked with “determining the effect of [foreign] transactions on the national security of the United States, according to a department website.

TikTok is in talks with CFIUS about what steps it could take to avoid divesting its Musical.ly assets, according to Reuters reporting. The news outlet said further details of those talks and specific concerns raised by the committee could not be learned as of Friday.

Senators have been speaking out about the potential national security implications of TikTok’s growing user base of young people. About 60 percent of TikTok’s American users are between the ages of 16 and 24, according to the company.

Over the past month, three senators have requested official investigations, including Republicans Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton along with Schumer, the Senate minority leader. Cotton and Schumer sent a letter on Oct. 24 to Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence that raised questions about potential censorship and data security concerns.

“With over 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” Schumer and Cotton wrote. “Importantly, security experts have voiced concern that China’s intelligence, national security, and cybersecurity laws compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • ASIS International and SIA Release “Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”

    ASIS International and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading security associations for the security industry – have released ”Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”, a new research report that provides insights into the equipment, technologies, and employment of the global security industry, including regional market breakouts. SIA and ASIS partnered with global analytics and advisory firm Omdia to complete the research. Read Now

  • President Biden Issues Executive Order to Bolster U.S Port Cybersecurity

    On Wednesday, President Biden issued an Executive Order to bolster the security of the nation’s ports, alongside a series of additional actions that will strengthen maritime cybersecurity and more Read Now

  • Report: 15 Percent of All Emails Sent in 2023 Were Malicious

    VIPRE Security Group recently released its report titled “Email Security in 2024: An Expert Look at Email-Based Threats”. The 2024 predictions for email security in this report are based on an analysis of over 7 billion emails processed by VIPRE worldwide during 2023. This equates to almost one email for everyone on the planet. Of those, roughly 1 billion (or 15%) were malicious. Read Now

  • ASIS Announces ANSI-Approved Cannabis Security Standard

    ASIS International, a leading authority in security standards and guidelines, proudly announces the release of a pioneering American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard dedicated to cannabis security. This best-in-class standard, meticulously developed by industry experts, sets a new benchmark by providing comprehensive requirements and guidance for the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and maintenance of a cannabis security program. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Whitepapers

New Products

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3

  • FEP GameChanger

    FEP GameChanger

    Paige Datacom Solutions Introduces Important and Innovative Cabling Products GameChanger Cable, a proven and patented solution that significantly exceeds the reach of traditional category cable will now have a FEP/FEP construction. 3

  • ComNet CNGE6FX2TX4PoE

    The ComNet cost-efficient CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is a six-port switch that offers four Gbps TX ports that support the IEEE802.3at standard and provide up to 30 watts of PoE to PDs. It also has a dedicated FX/TX combination port as well as a single FX SFP to act as an additional port or an uplink port, giving the user additional options in managing network traffic. The CNGE6FX2TX4PoE is designed for use in unconditioned environments and typically used in perimeter surveillance. 3