Washington News — House Republicans claim TikTok may not have been truthful to congressional staff during private briefings on the company’s handling of US user data. This is according to the letter sent this week by the short-form video app.
Is realy Tik-tok are misleading about data briefing
This Tuesday’s letter, addressed to TikTok CEO Shou Z Chew, reflects the latest escalation of US lawmakers examining TikTok’s potential impact on national safety. It also foreshadows how House Republicans, who have gained a majority at the 2022 midterm elections in Washington, will approach TikTok over the following months.
Bipartisan briefings were held to discuss privacy practices at TikTok. TikTok officials stated that the app collects user information only when they are using it. Employees based in China don’t have access to US TikTok users’ specific geolocation data, according to the letter by Reps. James Comer and Cathy McMorris Rodgers rank members on the House Oversight and Energy and Commerce Committees.
The letter stated that public reporting by Consumer Reports and Forbes seem to contradict these statements.
Comer and McMorris Rodgers wrote that both claims “appear to be misleading at best and at worst false.”
TikTok did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
Tuesday’s letter urged TikTok to preserve many documents, communications, and other records. This is a preview of how House lawmakers might investigate the company over the next few months.
It asked TikTok for “all drafts, iterations and versions” of any possible national security agreement that the company might be working with the US government. It also reiterated the half-dozen additional requests for information GOP lawmakers made to TikTok during the summer.
The legislators requested that TikTok reply by December 6.
McMorris Rodgers spokesperson Sean Kelly stated that Americans deserve answers on how TikTok allowed China access to their data. “The American Data Privacy & Protection Act (the American Data Privacy and Security Act) is the next step. This would require companies, such as TikTok, to notify users if personal information is being stored in or accessed by countries like China. People also have the right to opt-out of that sharing.
Copies of this letter were also sent out to the Democratic committee chairs. However, the lawmakers Carolyn Maloney (Rep.) and Frank Pallone (Rep.) did not sign it. Spokespeople for Pallone and Maloney didn’t immediately respond when we asked for comment.
Bipartisan concern has been expressed by US officials about TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. Critics say that Chinese authorities could force them to hand over data concerning US citizens or act as a conduit for malicious influence operations.
Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner stated that he believes “TikTok” is a huge threat over the weekend. This was due to potential data security threats and the possibility China could use ByteDance control to dictate what US users see on TikTok.
Warner stated, “That distribution model would make RT, Sputnik, and some of the Russian propaganda modèles pale in comparison.”
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed similar concerns, suggesting that China might even use TikTok to hack. He told lawmakers that the FBI is concerned TikTok could also be used by China to “technically compromise and control software on millions” of devices.
TikTok acknowledged that US data was accessible to China-based employees but declined to stop data flows. It stated that its talks with the US government would lead to an agreement that “satisfies all national security concerns.”