The popular social media platform TikTok has long since caught the attention of Republican politicians due to its involvement with the communist country of China.
Senate Intelligence Committee members issued a scathing letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, asking her to investigate TikTok.
Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla) wrote the letter after a report showed China’s ability to access critical data from U.S. TikTok users.
The senators urged Khan to “immediately” start a Section 5 investigation and get the Department of Justice involved. TikTok is reportedly deceiving its users, with China profiting off the sensitive data collected. With over a billion users, TikTok’s platform is massive in terms of data collecting.
In 2019, the Committee on Foreign Investment started looking into national security concerns regarding TikTok in the United States.
When Donald Trump was in office, he threatened to ban the social media app due to increasing concerns that the communist country was using Americans’ information to spread propaganda.
Buzzfeed reported that TikTok allowed employees based in the People’s Republic of China “unfettered access to user information, including birthdates [sic], phone numbers, and device identification information.”
The senators related to this in their letter.
TikTok has been making hollow promises, such as moving its storage system to a U.S.-based system.
The senators pointed out that “these latest revelations raise concerns about the reliability of TikTok representations: since TikTok will ultimately control all access to the cloud-hosted systems, the risk of access to that data by PRC-based engineers (or CCP security services) remains significant in light of the corporate governance irregularities.”
Rubio is a leading force in resolving the national security issue and said, “Maybe now that Tik-Tok got caught turning over the personal data of American users, more will finally join us to get this stopped.”
With relations with China strained, it is unclear whether the U.S. will take enough action to get the TikTok security issue fixed or if it will continue to be swept under the rug.