Representatives Greg Walden, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the ranking member of a consumer subcommittee, asked what information was gathered about American users, what data is shared with the Chinese Communist Party or other state-owned entities and whether information about Americans is stored in China.
"The seemingly close ties that TikTok has with the Chinese government raise serious concerns about your data practices, including what information your company collects about Americans and what you do with them," they wrote. .
The letter was addressed to TikTok owner ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming.
"While we believe the concerns are unfounded, we appreciate them and continue to strengthen our safeguards while stepping up our dialog with lawmakers," a TikTok spokesperson said in an email. "We have received the letter, and we will respond as we look forward to making our policies , practices and operations more clear."
There are longstanding security concerns around TikTok. The U.S. In Dec. Navy banned the social media app from mobile devices issued by the government, saying it was a "cybersecurity menace."
The lawmakers also asked TikTok to answer questions about how children's data is being treated and whether illegally collected data has been destroyed, as required under a Federal Trade Commission agreement.
The Center for Digital Democracy, Commercial-Free Childhood Campaign and other advocates for privacy said on May 14 that TikTok had failed to download all the videos made by children under the age of 13, as it agreed to do under a consent agreement announced in February 2019 with the FTC.
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