TikTok, a Chinese-owned video app, may possibly be a national security threat to Americans and thus needs thorough investigation. This was what two key senators indicated in a letter sent to Joseph Maguire, the National Intelligence Acting Director. According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Tom Coton, this world-famous video application "is a potential counterintelligence" that cannot be ignored.

Owned by a Chinese firm, Bytedance, Inc., Tiktok, the said senators said in their letter, has been downloaded more than 110 million times in the United States, and the app's growing popularity is creating "national security risks." In addition, as reported by Bloomberg, the senators' concern includes potential censorship, possible foreign influence campaigns, and data safety on the platform in the United States.

Further Investigation Needed

The two senators' letter is part of the increasing pressure to evaluate Chinese technology's impending security threats. Earlier this month, Senator Rubio sent the Treasury Department a letter request for a national security investigation on ByteDance, the world's biggest startup with a $75 billion value, according to The Verge. Relatively, both senators warned later this week that China might require TikTok to turn over the data it collects, and this includes the IP address, the user's communications and contents, device identifiers, metadata, and all other sensitive information.

If there is no independent judiciary to evaluate requests which the Chinese Government makes for data or any other action, there is no lawful mechanism for Chinese firms to appeal should they disagree with a particular request. Although TikTok says that it is operating outside China and keeps the data of the U.S. in the U.S., there is a need for ByteDance to follow Chinese Laws and hand over any data which the government requests.

The TikTok Craze and Controversy

TikTok is a comparatively unusual example of a Chinese social media platform reaching global success. It is more often than not, famous for its lighthearted content, which includes dancing and lip-syncing, uploaded by typically teenage users. This app's popularity indicated signs of fading third quarter of this year, with worldwide user-downloads dropping 4% from one year earlier.

The Chinese social media platform allegedly censors materials considered politically delicate to the Chinese Communist Party. Materials include content that's related to the recent protests in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Inc.'s Chief Executive, has also warned that the Internet's censored version could spread across the world if other platforms do not continue to fight for free speech. Relatively, until recently, the Internet in nearly every nation outside China has been identified by American platforms with strong values of free expression. However, there is no certainty that these values will win. 

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