US Army opens investigation into Chinese social media app TikTok after using it to recruit soldiers and BANS Cadets to wear it while wearing uniform
- Chinese social media app TikTok is under investigation by the US Army
- The inquiry is a response to a letter from Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer
- Army cadets are prohibited from using the app while in uniform
- Skeptics say TikTok may be exporting user data to Chinese government
The US Army will examine whether the Chinese social media platform TikTok is a security threat and will ban its cadets from using the app while in uniform.
On Thursday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said the Army investigation will fully assess the ties between TiKTok and the Chinese government, particularly regarding its data sharing policy.
The inquiry is being launched in response to a letter from Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
"National security experts raised concerns about the collection and handling of user data by TikTok, including user content and communications, IP addresses, location related data, metadata and other sensitive personal information," Schumer wrote in a letter of November 7th to McCarthy.
Skeptical US lawmakers are turning to Chinese social media app TikTok with questions about potential security threats
Meanwhile, Army cadets will no longer be able to wear the uniform application, according to a report by the Task and Purpose.
An army officer on Thursday told the news agency via e-mail that the board to stop using TikTok while in uniform was not made official, but became apparent to members internally.
This is not the first case of US authorities asking for information about TikTok.
A letter to US Homeland Security Director Schumer and Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican, asked intelligence officials to assess the potential risks posed by TikTok last month.
"With over 110 million downloads in the US alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we can't ignore," the senators wrote in their Letter.
“ Given these concerns, we request the Intelligence Community to conduct a national security risk assessment posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms operating in the US & # 39; & # 39;
Concerns include the growing influence of TikTok, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, and its adherence to an agenda set by the Chinese government.
Skeptics say the app may be actively exporting US user information to the Chinese government.
"Security experts have voiced concerns that vague Chinese intelligence, national security and cybersecurity laws force Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party," lawmakers wrote.
"Without an independent judiciary to review requests by the Chinese government for data or other actions, there is no legal mechanism for Chinese companies to appeal if they disagree with a request."
TikTok has had a real impact on cultural trends in the years since its launch. For example, "Old Town Road", formerly the number one song in the world, gained traction on TikTok.
According to US professor David Carrol, who took over from Cambridge Analytica after illegally using data from 80 million Facebook users to help elect US President Donald Trump, TikTok could be the next incarnation of the groundbreaking scandal.
In an interview with Quartz In May, Carrol pointed to TikTok's questionable practices regarding user data collection, saying it could be a potential flashpoint for policy makers.
"If lawmakers on Capitol Hill knew that their children's TikTok data could be flowing directly to China, I bet they would worry as much as I do," he said.
In the US, equally influential Chinese companies have already begun hitting security guards imposed by skeptical lawmakers, including smartphone giant Huawei.
The company was accused of spying on users in the US and abroad at the request of the Chinese government.
The wireless phone and infrastructure maker was blacklisted this year amid an increasingly heated trade war between the US and China. This conflict continually alluded to the resolution.
WHAT IS TIKTOK?
TikTok is a Chinese social media application where users can stream live, create short videos, music videos and gifs with various functions.
TikTok's slogan is & # 39; Make every second count & # 39 ;.
It was the most downloaded app in the US in 2018 and the fourth most downloaded app in the world in 2018, ahead of Instagram and Snapchat.
TikTok is known in China as Douyin, where it was launched in 2016 and then made available worldwide in 2017.
Douyin is still the version of the app used in China, available for download separately on TikTok.
Last year, the app was merged with the popular Musical.ly lip sync app, also based in China.
Most kids use the app to film lip sync to plot hits.
It offers users a variety of color editing and modification tools, including music overlay, sound, animated stickers, filters, and augmented reality (AR) to create short videos.
The Beijing-based social network has over 500 million active users and the company is now worth over $ 75 billion (£ 58 billion).
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