Senator requests that TikTok be removed from app stores by Google and Apple
As bipartisan pressure on the Chinese-owned company grows, Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, called on Apple and Google on Thursday to remove TikTok from their app stores due to national security concerns.
No organization subject to the “dictates of the Chinese Communist Party should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population,” wrote Bennett, a senator and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
Questions have been raised about TikTok’s data practices and whether it provides Chinese authorities with information about Americans that it collects through its app. TikTok is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.
In a phone interview, Bennett said, “I hope Apple and Google use this as an opportunity to lead this discussion. It is irresponsible of us to make it available the way we have.
His latest jab at TikTok in what has turned into a national frenzy among lawmakers, his letter to Apple’s Tim Cook and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, demonstrates Democrats eagerly joining a campaign that, up until recently, was largely led by Republicans.
Bennet’s call goes back to the Trump administration’s failed attempt to remove WeChat, another Chinese-owned app, and TikTok from US app stores in September 2020 due to legal opposition.
As TikTok waits for the Biden administration to respond to the company’s August plan outlining how it will prevent the Chinese government from accessing US user data, lawmakers and regulators have become more critical of the app. and how it will hand over control of the platform to the US government.
The letter was based on “misleading reports about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls,” according to Brooke Oberwetter, a spokeswoman for TikTok. She continued by saying that she disregarded the company’s sizeable investment in her Project Texas plan, which was intended “to give our community further reassurances about the security of their data and the integrity of the TikTok platform.”
In the past two months, TikTok has been outlawed in some capacity in more than two dozen states, including several governed by Democratic governors. Every American would be prohibited from using the app under a bill that was introduced in Congress by both parties in December. Cities and some college campuses have also enacted bans.
Both TikTok’s content recommendation system and a Chinese media law that enables the government to secretly demand data from Chinese businesses and citizens have drawn criticism from lawmakers.
According to TikTok, the proposed solution will “significantly address any security concerns that have been raised at both the federal and state levels.” The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, consented to testify before a House committee in March.