Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who has been highly critical of Chinese short-form video ap TikTok, has now asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the similar short-form video app Zynn.
He is particularly concerned that the app may not be sufficiently protecting children's online privacy.
Hawley has already teamed with other senators, Democratic and Republican, to seek an FTC investigation of TikTok.
According to Wired, the Zynn app is no longer available on the Google Play Store and Apple was looking into the app.
Zynn pays users to watch videos and for referrals, which Hawley likens to a "pyramid" predatory pricing scheme, with early adopters getting paid for convincing others to install the app and Zynn trying to drive out social media competitors. Hawley said competitors in the social media space are necessary to try and check the tech behemoths Facebook, Twitter, and others he said have "throttled innovation" with near monopoly control (Hawley is one of Big Tech's biggest critics).
In a letter to the FTC, Hawley said anticompetitive practices "can't be tolerated," particularly by Chinese-based companies--TikTok, Zynn--with what he says are "substantial ties to the Communist Party."
He cites TikTok's 2019 consent decree with the FTC over alleged violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and says there is good reason to suspect Zynn may not be abiding by those privacy protections, either.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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