• 138 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 143 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 145 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 148 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 148 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 149 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 151 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 151 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 155 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 155 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 156 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 158 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 159 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 162 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 163 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 163 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 165 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
  • 166 days Europe’s Economy Is On The Brink As Putin’s War Escalates
  • 169 days What’s Causing Inflation In The United States?
  • 170 days Intel Joins Russian Exodus as Chip Shortage Digs In
Another Banner Year for Billionaires

Another Banner Year for Billionaires

Unsurprisingly, last year was very…

China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia

China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia

Western sanctions against Russia are…

Russia Considers Nationalizing Foreign Businesses

Russia Considers Nationalizing Foreign Businesses

The Russian government is reportedly…

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Breaking News

New Viral App May Be A National Security Threat In Disguise

New Viral App

Grandma trying to rap was one of the most shared TIkTok videos this year, but her late-start career might not get off the ground. The U.S. government is about to investigate the app for “national security risks”. Grandma herself may not be a national security risk, but her data--and the data of hundreds of millions of others--could be a goldmine for Beijing. Or, it could just be another case of America crying wolf in the middle of an all-out tech war. 

For those unfamiliar with it, the app allows users to create, upload and share videos up to 15 seconds long using various editing tools and effects that enable lip-syncing and a number of other filters.

TikTok’s numbers are staggering. 

Launched only in 2017, it is the current number one app downloaded in the iOS store. It is estimated that in the first quarter of 2019, more than 220 million app downloads occurred between Google Play and Apple’s iOS store. Some 60% of its U.S. users are aged between 16 and 24.

Even Islamic State propagandists are reportedly trying to exploit this song-and-dance social media tool for the purpose of recruitment. Last month, around two dozen ISIS-related accounts were removed from the platform.

Even though none of the accounts appear to have been particularly popular, it featured people singing ISIS songs, and women affirming a “jihadist” stance, often with hearts and stars floating across the screen. 

Now, back to the real reason for the investigation.

Last week, the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) launched a national security investigation into TikTok after a couple of lawmakers penned a letter to a U.S. intelligence official demanding a security assessment.

In an open letter, two senior US politicians, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York), described TikTok as "a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore”. 

Republican Senator Marco Rubio had also called for a CFIUS review of TikTok specifically, claiming there is “ample and growing evidence” that the Chinese government censors content on the platform. “These Chinese-owned apps are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Communist Party,” Rubio wrote. 

Related: Putin Has Become A Fashion Icon

As for TikTok, the lawmakers expressed concern that China's internet laws force companies in the country to cooperate with its Chinese Communist Party. They also questioned the company’s data collection practices to determine whether the Chinese government has any say in what content Americans see on the app. 

The company dismissed the concerns in a statement saying that the company takes “these issues incredibly seriously”. In the post, TikTok committed to keeping the data of U.S. citizens secure and out of the hands of the Chinese government.

As a result, last Friday the U.S. government has launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly. 

Even though the acquisition was completed two years ago, CFIUS, has started to review the deal due to the fact that TikTok did not seek clearance from CFIUS when it made the acquisition.  

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. government even got support from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one of TikTok’s competitors. Facebook has been quick to call out its rival over censorship concerns and potential Chinese government influence. 

For investors, it’s a tricky minefield to navigate right now. 

And now, it’s about to heat up further as media quarrel over whether ByteDance is planning to go public in Hong Kong. Last week, the Financial Times said the company was eyeing and IPO, but ByteDance later denied that report in comments to Reuters.  

By Michael Scott for Safehaven.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment