Is TikTok a threat to national security?

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Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/11/is-tiktok-threat-national-security/

Over the past year Tik Tok has become a popular social media app. The mini-video app mimics Vine, a popular video app that ended in 2016. In 2016 Tik Tok was created by Douyin and ByteDance two China based app developing companies, the app only took 200 day before it was offered to the public. Since its launch the app has continued to grow harnessing over 500 million users ranging in ages 18 to 24. However, The company’s growth has raised some privacy concerns that have many users and developers wondering how safe the app actually is.

Tik Tok has now caught the attention of the  Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The reason that CFIUS is investigating the app is still unclear, but the major issue that put the app on the governments radar was the Chinese government having access to U.S user data. The data that U.S users are giving through the terms of use agreement could give ByteDance more information than normal, If Byte Dance is required to report that information to the Chinese government, many U.S TikTok users could be put at risk

The apps developers censored the Hong Kong protests. Actions like these could make the app a threat to national security. Worst case scenario is that CFIUS could request or demand divestment, which it has done in the past with  apps such as Grindr and PatientsLikeMe. Divestment would mean that Byte Dance  might have to sell off Tik Tok venture. Selling off the apps venture could prohibit international expansion, or making the app unavailable in this country..

 

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