Beijing-based ByteDance Technology’s two-year-old acquisition of Musical.ly is under a national security review because of concerns the Chinese government is influencing content on the short-form video platform, now rebranded as TikTok, Reuters has reported.
An investigation of TikTok by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) is already underway, according to Reuters. ByteDance never sought clearance from CFIUS, which is charged with reviewing deals for national security risks. Although CFIUS filings are technically voluntary, the committee, made up of 14 government agencies, has the authority to launch its own inquiries.
CFIUS can modify or block deals and could force ByteDance to divest the Music.ly if it determines that the deal is a national security risk.
TikTok has been one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world and is especially popular with users between 16 and 24. Last week, two U.S. senators called for a national security investigation of the company citing concerns that U.S. content was being censored by Chinese authorities. The senators also warned that TikTok could be collecting personal data of its users.