‘US wants to investigate Musical.ly acquisition by Chinese ByteDance from 2017’

The United States wants to examine the acquisition of Musical.ly by the Chinese TikTok parent company ByteDance in 2017. That’s what Reuters sources say. The motivation for this would be the security of user data, and the possible censorship of content.

Musical.ly merged into TikTok after the acquisition. It would be an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which investigates takeovers by foreign parties and looks into possible threats to national security. In addition to data security and censorship, its potential foreign influence campaigns are also a concern for the US, probably especially as new presidential elections are held next year.

According to the American news medium, politicians have long argued that TikTok’s popularity is a risk factor. About 60 percent of the 26.5 million active US users are said to be between 16 and 24 years old. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also said to have criticized the possible censorship of TikTok, for example when it comes to images of the demonstrations in Hong Kong.

ByteDance is a Chinese internet start-up that competes with the big Chinese names like Tencent and Baidu. The company is seven years old and was worth $78 billion last year, according to Reuters. Furthermore, ByteDance operates, among other things, the news service Toutiao.