Other Chinese companies have been forced to divest apps by the U.S. government. For example, earlier this year the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) forced Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd to sell the Grindr dating app for $620 million. CFIUS is the U.S. agency that reviews foreign purchases of U.S. companies looking for potential national security risks. When ByteDance purchased Shanghai’s Musical.ly video app in 2017 for $1 billion, it relaunched it as TikTok but did not seek CFIUS review. As a result, TikTok reportedly been under investigation
. At the same time, the Peterson Institute for International Economics
called the app a “Huawei-sized problem” for the U.S.
Last month, it was discovered that a new feature in iOS 14 warns users when an app is checking out your iPhone’s clipboard. The latter copies data from one app and pastes it on another app; it often holds personal information like PIN numbers and passwords. Several apps, including TikTok, were found to be copying iOS users’ clipboards
. The list of other apps spying on users’ clipboards includes some owned and by American companies including AccuWeather, Google News, and Overstock.
TikTok’s U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas posted a message to the TikTok community on the app this morning that did not mention any hint of a U.S. ban. She said, “I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok every day bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives. We’ve heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you. We’re not planning on going anywhere. TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, their ideas, and connect with people across different backgrounds. And we are so proud of all the various communities that call TikTok their home.
I’m also proud of our 1,500 U.S. employees who work on this app every day and the additional 10,000 jobs that we are bringing into this country over the next three years. I’m thrilled about our U.S. Creator Fund where we just announced our $1 billion fund to support our creators and when it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do. So we appreciate the support. We’re here for the long run and continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok.”