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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images.

Zynn, a rising TikTok-like service that pays its users, is drawing the attention of China hawk and Big Tech antagonist Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who wants the Federal Trade Commission to look into it.

Why it matters: Zynn, which pays users both when they watch content and when they refer others to install its video-sharing app, quickly topped the App Store's free app chart just weeks after debuting in May.

Meanwhile, Wired reported late Tuesday that Zynn's service is full of videos reposted without permission from TikTok influencers, and that Google has pulled its app from its Play Store.

What's happening: In a letter Wednesday, Hawley pressed the FTC to investigate Zynn's business practices and its ties to China.

  • Zynn is backed by Beijing-based Kuaishou, a video-sharing company that competes with the Chinese version of TikTok, The Information reports.

Details: Hawley said Zynn's approach to paying users to convince others to install the app "smacks of a textbook predatory-pricing scheme, one calculated to attain immediate market dominance for Zynn by driving competitors out of the market."

  • Hawley also warned about Kuaishou's practices in China, where the company has appeared to, by turns, censor and promote content at the Beijing government's behest, according to press reports.
  • He also questioned whether Zynn is complying with U.S. children's online privacy laws.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 13, 2020 - Technology

TikTok's parent company rejects Microsoft takeover offer

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Microsoft on Sunday night announced via a blog post that its takeover offer for TikTok's U.S. operations has been rejected by TikTok's parent company, China's ByteDance.

Next up: Oracle is the only publicly known bidder left for TikTok U.S., which soon faces a White House deadline to either agree to a deal or be banned.

Pipeline hack spotlights cyber risks to energy systems

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline — the massive East Coast gasoline artery — is a stunning real-world example of the increasing risks that the energy sector faces from a cyberattack.

Why it matters: Different parts of the vast American energy system are vulnerable — from pipelines to power grids to individual power plants and plenty in between.

1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: TikTok launching jobs service for Gen Z

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok is testing a tool for brands to recruit employees, sources tell Axios.

Details: The pilot program is designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates. It's also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.