Senators call for probe into TikTok over possible national security risks

The mobile app, which lets users share clips of themselves lip-syncing or dancing to popular music, reportedly has more than a billion downloads, with millions of those in the US. The senators expressed concern that the Chinese government could force ByteDance to turn over US user data and called the app a “counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.”

“While the company has stated that TikTok does not operate in China and stores US user data in the US, ByteDance is still required to adhere to the laws of China,” the senators wrote. “Without an independent judiciary to review requests made by the Chinese government for data or other actions, there is no legal mechanism for Chinese companies to appeal if they disagree with a request.”

A TikTok spokesperson said the company doesn’t have a comment at this time other than to reaffirm that it’s “committed to being a trusted and responsible corporate citizen in the US, which includes working with Congress and all relevant regulatory agencies.”

The senators also said questions have been raised about censorship of content on the app, as well as concerns about the being the target of foreign influence campaigns like the one carried out by Russia during the 2016 election. They requested a congressional briefing on the intelligence community’s findings.

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