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FTC investigating TikTok over privacy and security

CNN  —  The Federal Trade Commission is investigating TikTok for its data and security practices, two sources told CNN on the condition of anonymity. The probe is yet another complication for the social media platform, which is already facing the threat of a potential US ban or a forced divestment from its Chinese parent company. The sources said that the FTC is probing TikTok over an alleged violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection rule, which requires companies to notify parents and obtain consent before collecting data from children under 13. The agency is also investigating whether TikTok violated a portion of the FTC Act, which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” the sources said. The FTC could bring a suit against TikTok in the coming weeks, according to the sources. When asked about the investigation, FTC Director of Public Affairs Douglas Farrar replied, “No comment.” TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The FTC probe comes as TikTok faces an existential threat in the US. The short-form video company, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, has denied assertions that its app poses a national security threat to US citizens. TikTok, which does not operate in China, has said that the Chinese government has never accessed US user data. Still, earlier this month, a bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives voted to pass a law forcing TikTok to be sold by ByteDance or face a US ban. The bill is now before the Senate, and President Joe Biden has said he would sign it if it gets to his desk.