Feds Ordered a Secret National Security Review of TikTok

In September 2023, the federal Liberals ordered a national security review of China-based TikTok, a move not publicly disclosed at the time, reports The Canadian Press.

A spokesperson for Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told The Canadian Press, “This is still an ongoing case. We can’t comment further because of the confidentiality provisions of the Investment Canada Act.”

“Our government has never hesitated to (take) action, when necessary, if a case under review is found to be injurious to Canada’s national security,” added the spokesperson.

This news comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this week aiming to ban TikTok unless its China-based owner, ByteDance, divests its stake. If that doesn’t happen, it could lead to a ban of the short-form video app in the U.S. The fear is the ByteDance will be compelled by the Chinese government to shared data at any time.

The federal government launched its security review on September 6, triggered by TikTok Canada’s business expansion, which involved establishing a new Canadian entity. Specific details of the expansion under scrutiny remain secret due to confidentiality under the Investment Canada Act, says Ottawa.

The review includes “enhanced scrutiny” under a new policy on foreign investments in the interactive digital media sector. The Canadian review of TikTok is independent of the proposed U.S. legislation, which still requires Senate approval.

Digital First Canada, which advocates on behalf of digital creators and has received funding from TikTok, says if the U.S. bans the app, “Canadian careers on TikTok are over,” citing how the big American audience is vital. TikTok creators earn ad revenue for uploading video to the app, which is essentially a highly-addictive version of YouTube that feeds users video based on an algorithm.

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