Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) speaks on a cell phone after a vote the day after the taking pictures at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 25, 2022.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., urged the CEOs of Apple and Google to take away TikTok from their cell app shops instantly in a letter Thursday, citing widespread issues the Chinese authorities may entry data on Americans utilizing the app.
The request from Bennet, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, highlights each the rising concern over TikTok’s potential nationwide safety dangers and the ability Apple and Google should determine the kind of apps which Americans can entry.
Bennet advised the CEOs of each corporations that TikTok is exclusive from different social media platforms due to its China-based dad or mum firm, ByteDance, which underneath Chinese regulation can be required at hand over inside information to the federal government to help in intelligence work.
“Beijing’s requirement raises the obvious risk that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could weaponize TikTok against the United States, specifically, by forcing ByteDance to surrender Americans’ sensitive data or manipulate the content Americans receive to advance China’s interests,” Bennet wrote. “These obvious risks render TikTok, in its current form, an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States.”
TikTok has repeatedly sought to reassure involved American lawmakers and officers that it doesn’t retailer U.S. consumer information in China. It has additionally been negotiating with the U.S. authorities about the way it can mitigate potential nationwide safety dangers whereas persevering with to function right here.
But to this point many lawmakers stay unconvinced, with Congress passing a invoice on the finish of final 12 months banning TikTok from authorities units. Others have proposed banning TikTok within the U.S. altogether. Limits on TikTok to varied levels have additionally proliferated throughout a number of states and universities.
In his letter, Bennet cites a BuzzFeed News article from final 12 months based mostly on recordings of inside conferences that discovered China-based workers at TikTok’s dad or mum firm repeatedly accessed details about U.S. TikTok customers. Bennet additionally cited a current Forbes article describing TikTok’s observe of “heating” or boosting choose movies to assist them go viral.
Bennet mentioned that implies a “very real possibility that the CCP could compel TikTok, via ByteDance, to use its influence to advance Chinese government interests, for example, by tweaking its algorithm to present Americans content to undermine U.S. democratic institutions or muffle criticisms of CCP policy toward Hong Kong, Taiwan, or its Uighur population.”
“Unfortunately, Senator Bennet’s letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter mentioned in a press release. “It also ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas—a plan negotiated with our country’s top national security experts—to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform.”
Google declined to remark and Apple didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
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