On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) requested that the US authorities conduct a proper investigation into whether or not the favored Chinese video app, TikTok, poses a nationwide safety threat by censoring content material that upsets leaders in Beijing.
“These Chinese-owned apps are increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Community Party,” Rubio claimed in a letter calling on the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment within the United States to conduct a full evaluate on the potential nationwide safety dangers posed by TikTok’s acquisition of Musical.ly.
CFIUS and ByteDance didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
It seems that Rubio is referring to stories, like The Guardian’s from final month, outlining how TikTok’s moderators are instructed to censor movies of which the Chinese authorities could not approve. These subjects embrace content material that talks about Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, and Falun Gong.
In 2017, ByteDance, the father or mother firm to TikTok, acquired the favored lip-syncing video app, Musical.ly. TikTok had a rising consumer base outdoors of the United States, however ByteDance was capable of buy a large American viewers by means of its acquisition of Musical.ly. The two video apps merged collectively, totaling round 1 billion downloads the world over.
In tweets on Wednesday, Rubio additionally known as on the Trump administration “to fully enforce anti-boycott laws that prohibit any US person — including US subsidiaries of Chinese companies from complying with foreign boycotts seeking to coerce US companies to conform with #China’s government views.”
Rubio’s name for a evaluate follows per week of retaliation from American followers and shoppers towards US-based organizations and firms just like the National Basketball Association and sport developer Blizzard. Over the weekend, knowledgeable Hearthstone participant voiced help for the Hong Kong protests in a post-game interview and Blizzard banned him from tournaments for a whole yr.
Epic Games, the developer of the favored sport Fortnite, informed The Verge that it could help the political speech of its gamers in response to the Blizzard backlash.