US launches a national security review of TikTok, report says

The US is reportedly looking into the popular app's acquisition of Musical.ly two years ago.

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Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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In this photo illustration a popular mobile application for

TikTok has come under fire from the US government.  

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The US government is looking into the popular social media app TikTok for possible security risks, a new report Friday revealed. TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has become incredibly popular with teenagers in the US and around the world for its short-form videos. 

According to Reuters, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has opened a review of the app and its parent company's purchase of US company Musical.ly two years ago for around $1 billion. According to the report, which cites two unnamed sources, since "TikTok did not seek clearance from CFIUS when it acquired Musical.ly" the government group has the "scope to investigate it now."

"While we cannot comment on ongoing regulatory processes, TikTok has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the US," a TikTok spokesperson tells CNET. "Part of that effort includes working with Congress and we are committed to doing so."

The app has been under fire in recent weeks from members of Congress over concerns about how it stored data and if it was censoring content. Last week TikTok published a statement defending itself, hoping to "to set the record straight on some specific issues." 

In the post, the company said that its US users' data was stored on servers in the US "with backup redundancy in Singapore," adding that "our data centers are located entirely outside of China, and none of our data is subject to Chinese law." The company also said that it "does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China." 

"We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked," the post continued. "We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government; TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future."