Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, has urged Apple and Google to delete TikTok from their app stores over security issues. The Senator, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) stating that companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party must not be allowed to accumulate data on Americans or control content consumed by nearly a third of the country’s population.
There are growing concerns that TikTok, owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, may be transmitting user information to the Chinese government. “I hope Apple and Google will lead in this debate and remove TikTok from their app stores,” Bennet said in a phone interview.
Mr. Bennet, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent the chief executives of Apple and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, a letter saying no company subject to “Chinese Communist Party dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population.”
There are concerns surrounding TikTok regarding its handling of user data and whether any information collected from the app about Americans is being shared with the Chinese government. Senator Bennet’s letter to Tim Cook of Apple and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, in line with the recent widespread opposition to TikTok among lawmakers, indicates Democrats are now joining the previously predominantly Republican-led campaign. The call to remove TikTok recalls the Trump administration’s failed attempt in September 2020 to ban the app and another Chinese-owned app, WeChat, from U.S. app stores, an effort that faced legal challenges.
Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, stated that Senator Bennet’s letter was based on “misleading information about TikTok, its data collection, and data security measures.” She also noted that the letter disregarded TikTok’s substantial investment in “Project Texas” to assure users of the platform’s data security and integrity. Google and Apple did not comment on the matter. In the past two months, over two dozen states, some governed by Democrats, have imposed restrictions on TikTok. A bipartisan bill was introduced in December to ban the app nationwide and some colleges and cities have also implemented bans.
*The image for this post was created by the AI Dall-E with the prompt “Digital art of A US senator with a giant war hammer.”