US Senator Michael Bennett has urged Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to immediately remove TikTok from their app stores in a letter Thursday, calling it an unacceptable risk to American national security.
In the letter, the Senator from Colorado highlighted the danger of TikTok’s extensive reach in the US.
“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.
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TikTok is now the third-most popular social media app in the US, with over 100 million American users spending more than 80 minutes per day on the app.
Bennet explains how the combination of TikTok’s reach, aggressive data collection, and Chinese law obligations endangers US security.
“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,” he added.