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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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."