China-Owned TikTok Continues Efforts to Distance Itself from China

china
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

China-owned social media app TikTok has reportedly begun evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its business as U.S. concerns over TikTok’s ties to the Chinese communist party grow.

Bloomberg reports that the popular China-owned social media app TikTok has begun evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its business as U.S. lawmakers begin to worry about the Chinese origins of the app, with talks of banning the app outright over data security concerns.

Executives have reportedly begun discussing options for the company, such as the creation of a new management board for TikTok as well as establishing a separate headquarters outside of China in efforts to distance itself from its Beijing operations.

Currently, TikTok does not have separate headquarters from its Chinese owner Bytedance, which was founded in China and incorporated in the Cayman Islands. TikTok is reportedly considering a number of locations for its global base. The company’s five largest offices are already based in Los Angeles, New York, London, Dublin, and Singapore.

In a statement, TikTok commented: “We will move forward in the best interest of our users, employees, artists, creators, partners, and policy makers.” On Tuesday, President Trump stated that his administration is considering banning TikTok in the United States as a possible method of retaliation against China over its handling of the Wuhan coronavirus.

U.S. security experts have expressed concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data for some time, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling Americans not to download the app unless they want their private information to fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Breitbart News reported in October 2019 that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review the acquisition of social media app Musical.ly by TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. over claims that TikTok is used by the Chinese government to censor certain political content.

Rubio stated in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that 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.” The Treasury secretary heads the CFIUS, which reviews mergers such as that of Musical.ly and TikTok to ensure that they do not damage national security.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) also asked the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, to investigate the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to determine if it poses “national security risks.”

“With over 110 million downloads in the U.S. alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” wrote Schumer and Cotton, who currently sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Given these concerns, we ask that the Intelligence Community conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms operating in the U.S. and brief Congress on these findings.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.