The company is reportedly hiring a team in Mountain View, Calif. to manage data for the app, as well as restrict and monitor what its China-based engineers are doing with that information. In the third quarter of this year, ByteDance split TikTok’s development, marketing and legal staff from that of its Chinese equivalent, Douyin. (Reuters)
Talking point: The move comes as TikTok faces scrutiny from multiple branches of the U.S. government. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews the national security effects of deals that include U.S. assets, is looking into US$1-billion acquisition of TikTok predecessor Musical.ly in 2017. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said the military is conducting its own assessment, after ordering cadets not to TikTok while in uniform. ByteDance is trying to show it holds user data in the U.S. and that it can’t be accessed by the Chinese government. CFIUS has taken punitive action against Chinese tech firms in the U.S. before—it’s given gaming firm Beijing Kunlun Tech until June 2020 to divest the dating app Grindr.