FILE PICTURE: A TikTok logo design is displayed on a mobile phone in this illustration taken January 6,2020 REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Image
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Wednesday that TikTok was under a nationwide security review and that his firm would make a recommendation to the president about the popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app today.
The comments marked the very first time the U.S. government has actually acknowledged that TikTok was under evaluation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinizes offers by foreign acquirers for possible nationwide security dangers and is led by Treasury.
” TikTok is under CFIUS review. We will be making a suggestion to the president this week so we have lots of alternatives,” Mnuchin stated.
Reuters reported in November that the app’s Chinese moms and dad, Beijing ByteDance Technology Co was being probed by CFIUS over its $1 billion purchase of social networks app Musical.ly, after lawmakers raised concerns over how it shops personal data as well as allegations of censorship.
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A TikTok agent said the company could not comment on CFIUS matters, but included that TikTok was working to “establish a best-in-class security infrastructure” and promote a safe app experience.
The committee can require ByteDance to loosen up the deal, or take other measures to alleviate the nationwide security risk. Reuters reported earlier on Wednesday that ByteDance has gotten a proposal from some of its investors, including Sequoia and General Atlantic, to move majority ownership of TikTok to them. Some ByteDance financiers are valuing the popular app at about $50 billion.
Flanked by Mnuchin, President Donald Trump stated prior to leaving the White House on a journey to Texas that “we are looking at TikTok.”
The business is under fire in Washington, as relations between the Trump administration and Beijing have actually grown cold over the coronavirus and China’s relocations versus Hong Kong. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated the administration was thinking about prohibiting the app, and White Home Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said earlier this month that action was coming in weeks.
Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Writing by Doina Chiacu and Alexandra Alper; Modifying by Chris Reese, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis
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