TikTok reiterated his independence from China in a letter to US lawmakers, although he failed to convince Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who presided over a hearing Tuesday on the security of the personal data of US citizens.
The video application, owned by China-based ByteDance, said in a letter to lawmakers that it had hired a US audit firm to analyze its data security practices.
“TikTok says they don’t store data from American users in China. That is good. But all that is needed is a knock on the door of its parent company based in China by a Communist Party official so that these data are transferred to the hands of the Chinese government, ”Hawley said in a subcommittee hearing. of the Senate.
On October 24, two US senators urged intelligence officials to investigate whether TikTok poses risks to national security.
Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton expressed in a letter to the interim director of national intelligence, Joseph Macguire, his concern over the collection of data to users of the platform and whether China censors the content seen by US users. The letter also suggested that TikTok could be targeted by foreign influence campaigns.
TikTok has become more popular among American teenagers at a time of growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology transfers. At least 60% of the 26.5 million monthly active users of TikTok in the United States are between 16 and 24 years old, the company said this year.
Read as above TikTok in the sights of US lawmakers October 28, 2019 They say the popular video application has more than 110 million downloads in the United States and could give China access to users’ personal data. The US senators are asking for a risk assessment posed by the TikTok video application, citing concerns related to the parent company ByteDance that shares user data with the Chinese government. TikTok is a very popular application that allows users to create and share short videos with music. It has more than 500 million users worldwide and more than 110 million downloads in the US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Tom Cotton have sent a letter to the interim director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, suggesting that the large size of the TikTok audience represents a security risk, given the amount of data personal that collects from users. His letter indicates that ByteDance may be forced to share data with Chinese officials or give Chinese intelligence a means to spy on TikTok users’ smartphones. Senators emphasize that the application could be a potential target of foreign influence campaigns, similar to those seen in the 2016 elections, and say more actions are needed to address the threats posed by Chinese-owned companies. ByteDance statement ByteDance confirms that TikTok user data in the US They are stored in the United States, with backup residence in Singapore. He claims that “he does not delete content based on sensitivities related to China” and that “the Chinese government has never asked him to delete any content.” I would not comply with such requests if they were made, says TikTok. “We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government; TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future ». Senators point out that TikTok does not operate in China and stores data from US users in the United States; however, “ByteDance must still comply with the laws of China,” they write. “Questions have also been raised about the potential for censorship or manipulation of certain content.” According to reports, the application censors the content considered politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party; for example, materials related to the Hong Kong protests and references to Taiwan’s independence.
In November 2017, ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, acquired $ 1 billion Musical.ly, a popular American app for teenagers to make homemade karaoke videos. Although, at first, ByteDance said it would keep Musical.ly separate from its family of Chinese applications, less than a year later, it merged this app with another similar one called TikTok. Since then, the result of the merger has become one of the fastest growing applications in the world and a global cultural phenomenon.