US Senator Michael Bennet has called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, calling it an “unacceptable threat.”
Calls for a ban on TikTok have been increasing as a result of the company’s continued privacy and security scandals, as well as the security implications of its ties to Beijing. The company has recently admitted to surveiling US journalists, has mislead Congress about how it handles US data, and ultimately refused to keep such data out of China. Multiple states and government entities have already banned the app from government devices, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has called for Apple and Google to ban it.
Senator Bennet has joined that call, asking Apple and Google to remove the app.
“Like most social media platforms, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints. Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to ‘support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work,’” wrote Bennet.
“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,” continued Bennet in the letter. “No company subject to CCP dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population.”
Bennet then highlighted the steps Congress has already taken to limit the app, making the case that Apple and Google should do the same.
“Last year, Congress recognized the unacceptable security risks from TikTok and banned it from all federal government devices. At least 27 state governments have also passed full or partial bans on the app. Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately,” concluded Bennet.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify before the House Energy & Commerce Committee on March 23. Given the increasing push to ban the platform, his testimony should prove interesting.