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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.

John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, wins unconditional release

John Hinckley Jr. sitting on the back seat of a car in 1981. Photo: Bettmann / Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate former President Reagan in 1981.

State of play: U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington ruled that Hinckley can be freed from all court supervision in 2022 if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow rules that were imposed on him after he was released from a Washington mental health facility in 2016 to live in Virginia, AP reports.

Rep. Karen Bass launches run for Los Angeles mayor

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) on Monday launched her bid for mayor of Los Angeles.

Why it matters: Bass is a high-profile member of Congress. The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she was considered as a potential running mate to President Joe Biden and was a lead negotiator in the recently-ended talks on police reform. Should Bass win the mayoral election, she would become the first female mayor in L.A. history.