Tech

Lawmakers Ask F.T.C. Chair to Investigate TikTok’s Data Practices

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee requested the Federal Commerce Fee on Tuesday to research whether or not TikTok, the Chinese language-owned video app, had misled the general public about whether or not Beijing might have entry to American person information.

In a letter to Lina Khan, the chair of the F.T.C., Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democrat who heads the Intelligence Committee, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the panel’s prime Republican, mentioned they had been involved about current stories that TikTok’s person information was accessible to workers of its mother or father firm, ByteDance, in China. In addition they mentioned they had been fearful that ByteDance was extra concerned in TikTok’s resolution making than the app had claimed previously.

“In mild of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok regarding its information safety, information processing and company governance practices, we urge you to behave promptly on this matter,” the lawmakers mentioned.

A spokesman for the F.T.C. didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The F.T.C. has the authority to research cases by which firms make misleading claims about their practices. The company reached an settlement with TikTok in 2019 to settle accusations that an earlier iteration of the app had wrongly collected youngsters’s private information.

For years, TikTok has confronted questions from U.S. officers about whether or not it poses a nationwide safety risk as a result of a Chinese language firm owns it. In 2020, President Donald J. Trump cited these safety considerations and demanded that the video app be offered if it was to stay in U.S. app shops. He later introduced a possible deal by which ByteDance would promote not less than a part of TikTok to Oracle, a U.S. tech firm, although the transaction by no means got here to fruition.

These questions tailed off after Mr. Trump left workplace, however have not too long ago come to the fore once more. Final month, BuzzFeed Information reported that ByteDance workers in China had gained entry to the app’s U.S. information as not too long ago as this 12 months and that workers had been struggling to cordon off data collected by the app.

After the BuzzFeed report, 9 Republican senators — together with Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and John Thune of South Dakota — wrote to TikTok with questions on its safety practices. Final month, a member of the Federal Communications Fee additionally mentioned Apple and Google ought to take away TikTok from their app shops. And final week, TikTok despatched U.S. lawmakers a letter detailing the way it deliberate to maintain information about its American customers separate from its Chinese language mother or father firm.

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