Senator calls on Apple and Google to ban TikTok from App Stores

Sen. Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, on Thursday called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over national security concerns, as bipartisan pressure on the Chinese company mounts.

Bennet, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent the chief executives of Apple and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, a letter saying that no company subject to the “dictates of the Chinese Communist Party should have the power to accumulate such comprehensive data on the American people”. or curating content for almost a third of our population.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, has faced questions about its data practices and whether it shares information about Americans collected from its app with Chinese authorities.

“It’s irresponsible of us to make it available the way we have, and I hope Apple and Google take this opportunity to lead this debate,” Bennett said in a phone interview.

His letter to Apple’s Tim Cook and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai — the latest swipe at TikTok in what has become a national frenzy among lawmakers — shows Democrats eagerly joining a largely Republican-led campaign until has recently. Mr. Bennet’s appeal recalls the Trump administration’s efforts to ban TikTok and WeChat, another Chinese-owned app, from US app stores in September 2020, a move that was met with legal resistance and ultimately failed.

Lawmakers and regulators have increasingly criticized TikTok as it waits for the Biden administration to respond to the company’s plan, submitted in August, detailing how it will block the Chinese government from accessing user data. Americans, and how it will provide U.S. government oversight of the platform.

More than two dozen states, including several under Democratic governors, have banned TikTok in one way or another in the past two months. A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress in December would ban the app for everyone in the United States. Some college campuses and cities have also enacted bans.

Lawmakers have expressed concern over a Chinese media law that allows the government to secretly demand data from Chinese companies and citizens and from TikTok’s content recommendation system.

TikTok said its plan “will meaningfully address all security concerns that have been raised at the federal and state levels.” Shou Zi Chew, chief executive of TikTok, agreed to appear before a House committee in March.


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