The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee requested the Federal Commerce Fee on Tuesday to analyze whether or not TikTok, the Chinese language-owned video app, had misled the general public about whether or not Beijing might have entry to American consumer information.
In a letter to Lina Khan, the chair of the FTC, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democrat who heads the Intelligence Committee, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the panel’s prime Republican, stated they have been involved about current stories that TikTok’s consumer information was accessible to workers of its dad or mum firm, ByteDance, in China. In addition they stated they have been fearful that ByteDance was extra concerned in TikTok’s determination making than the app had claimed previously.
“In mild of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok regarding its information safety, information processing and company governance practices, we urge you to behave promptly on this matter,” the lawmakers stated.
A spokesman for the FTC didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The FTC has the authority to analyze cases during which corporations make misleading claims about their practices. The company reached an settlement with TikTok in 2019 to settle accusations that an earlier iteration of the app had wrongly collected youngsters’s private information.
For years, TikTok has confronted questions from US officers about whether or not it poses a nationwide safety menace as a result of a Chinese language firm owns it. In 2020, President Donald J. Trump cited these safety considerations and demanded that the video app be bought if it was to stay in US app shops. He later introduced a possible deal during which ByteDance would promote at the very least a part of TikTok to Oracle, a US tech firm, although the transaction by no means got here to fruition.
These questions tailed off after Mr. Trump left workplace, however have not too long ago come to the fore once more. Final month, BuzzFeed Information reported that ByteDance workers in China had gained entry to the app’s US information as not too long ago as this 12 months and that workers have been struggling to cordon off data collected by the app.
After the BuzzFeed report, 9 Republican senators — together with Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and John Thune of South Dakota — wrote to TikTok with questions on its safety practices. Final month, a member of the Federal Communications Fee additionally stated Apple and Google ought to take away TikTok from their app shops. And final week, TikTok despatched US lawmakers a letter detailing the way it deliberate to maintain information about its American customers separate from its Chinese language dad or mum firm.