The Trump administration is apparently investigating the data collection policies of American companies linked to Tencent, following sanctions on Tencent app WeChat earlier this year. Bloomberg reports that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has sent letters to League of Legends studio Riot and Fortnite maker Epic Games, asking about “their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data.”
Tencent owns Riot and has a minority stake in Epic, as well as many other companies, some of whom Bloomberg says also received letters. The report doesn’t elaborate on the specific questions being asked, but it tallies with an overall concern that Chinese government agencies could get access to private data collected by apps on American soil.
The news appeared shortly before the US Commerce Department issued an order requiring app stores to remove WeChat as well as ByteDance’s TikTok app on September 20th. People who have installed TikTok can use it until at least November 12th, after the US presidential election, but WeChat is being hit with technical restrictions that make its operation more difficult. Fortnite is, in fact, unavailable on iOS and Android app stores at the moment, but that’s because of a separate legal fight involving in-app purchase policies.
The Trump administration hasn’t gone after other big Tencent properties so far, sparing popular games like League of Legends. The CFIUS investigation, however, could indicate greater scrutiny of companies with Tencent links.