Marco Rubio Calls for a Government Investigation Into TikTok Censorship

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Photo Credit: ByteDance / Twitter

The acquisition of Musical.ly by Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance in 2017 is now being reviewed by a U.S. national security panel. Senator Marco Rubio requested the review, arguing that the Chinese government is exerting influence to censor politically sensitive content on the rebranded TikTok platform.

TikTok has been under scrutiny over the last couple of weeks due to instances of censorship on the platform. The app has removed any anti-Chinese government mentions, including those related to protests like Tiananmen Square and Hong Kong. Additionally, TikTok’s local moderation guidelines banned pro-LGBT content, even in countries where homosexuality is legal.

The censorship guidelines went beyond local laws in regions where TikTok operates, raising concerns about the platform’s commitment to equality and diversity. Senator Rubio’s letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin lambasted Chinese-owned apps, saying that they are “increasingly being used to censor content and silence open discussion on topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese Government and Communist Party.”

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is responsible for reviewing mergers and stock purchases by foreign entities, is headed by the Treasury secretary. Rubio cited growing evidence that TikTok is censoring content that the Chinese government doesn’t like. A representative for TikTok said that all U.S. data is stored in the United States, though that hasn’t been verified. Additionally, she added that the “Chinese government does not request that TikTok censor content.”

ByteDance, one of China’s fastest-growing tech companies, owns Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and TikTok, which has grown exponentially in 2019. The music-sharing app has attracted Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and other musical celebrities. More than 41% of the app’s users are less than 24 years old.

The review of the acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance is just one example of the increasing scrutiny that tech companies are facing globally. Governments are increasingly concerned about the power and influence that these companies wield, and they are taking steps to ensure that their interests are protected.

The U.S. government’s review of the acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance is an important step in ensuring that American interests are protected. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the review will be, but it is clear that tech companies like ByteDance will face increasing scrutiny in the years to come.

ByteDance has defended its ownership of TikTok, arguing that it has no control over the app’s content moderation policies. The company says that it has made significant investments in building a world-class moderation system that is both effective and fair.

Despite these assurances, the concerns around TikTok’s censorship practices persist. The app’s popularity among young people has made it a powerful tool for shaping public opinion, and there are fears that it could be used to spread propaganda and disinformation.

The U.S. government’s review of the acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance is part of a broader effort to ensure that tech companies are held accountable for their actions. It is likely that we will see more regulatory scrutiny of tech companies in the years to come, as governments seek to protect their citizens from the negative consequences of unchecked corporate power.

In conclusion, the review of the acquisition of Musical.ly by ByteDance is a significant development in the ongoing debate over tech companies and their power. While it remains to be seen what the outcome of the review will be, it is clear that TikTok’s censorship practices have attracted the attention of the U.S. government. As we move forward, it is important that we continue to hold tech companies accountable for their actions and ensure that their interests are aligned with those of the public.

One Response

  1. ©

    This could also be titled “legitimately evil sub-humans conspire to attack an online preteen destination”