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TikTok Security: US lawmakers worry the app threatens national security



US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle warn that the application could pose a national security risk and urge regulators and intelligence agencies to investigate TikTok's ties with China.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton want the US intelligence community to assess the national security risks of TikTok and other Chinese platforms, saying on Thursday that such applications could be used to spy on US citizens or target foreign nationals influence campaigns such as the Russian campaign to counter the influence of the 2016 presidential election.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based parent company Bytedance, has grown in popularity and become one of the few applications for social media owned by China to gain traction in the West.

The application was downloaded 1
77 million times in the last quarter, down 4% compared to the same period last year, according to data from mobile data firm Sensor Tower. But it was still the second most downloaded app globally, just behind Facebook ( FB ) proprietary to the messaging platform WhatsApp. In addition, it made $ 40 million in revenue from the iOS App Store in the last quarter and garnered about 100 million users in the United States, according to Sensor Tower.

TikTok is not available in China, although ByteDance has an internal version of the app called Douyin.

Because TikTok's parent company is based in China, it may be forced to "support and cooperate with the Chinese Communist Party-controlled intelligence," the senators said, adding in a letter to the acting director of National Intelligence. The US said that "there is no legislative mechanism for Chinese companies to appeal if they do not agree to the request."

TikTok said in a statement that it stores all US consumer data and archives it in Singapore.

"Our data centers are located entirely outside China and none of our data is subject to Chinese law," the company said in a statement on Friday. "In addition, we have a dedicated technical team focused on adhering to robust cybersecurity policies as well as data privacy and security practices."

  The company, which owns TikTok, now has one billion users, many of them outside China
Earlier this month, Republican Senator Marco Rubio called on the United States Foreign Investment Commission, which checks US purchases anski business abroad to review the acquisition of a competitive application TikTok Musical.ly. His request came after the Washington Post published a story investigating the lack of posts about Hong Kong protests against TikTok, compared to other social media platforms such as Twitter ( TWTR ) and Facebook.

"There is sufficient and increasing evidence that TikTok's platform for Western markets, including those in the United States, is censoring content that is not in accordance with the directives of the Chinese government and the Communist Party," Rubio said in a statement. the weather.

TikTok said in a statement Friday that it does not remove content based on sensitivity related to China.

"We never wanted the Chinese government to remove any content, and we would not do it if asked," TikTok said, adding that his US moderation team "reviews content for compliance with our US policies – just like other American companies in our space. "


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