TikTok aims to reassure lawmakers that user data is defended against foreign access

A group of Republican senators have hit out at social media platform TikTok and have accused it of mis-using the data of American citizens.

Tiktok has come under fire after a recent Buzzfeed report in which it was alleged that China based employees of ByteDance, who are TikTok’s parent company were able to access data about American users of the platform. This data is not available to the general public.

Nine Republican senators, led by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote a letter Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of Tiktok, in which Blackburn vented her frustration at TikTok by saying that they “should have come clean from the start but instead tried to shroud their work in secrecy.” She went onto say that they should testify before congress.

“Americans need to know that if they are on TikTok, Communist China has their information. TikTok needs to come back and testify before Congress,” she said.

Brendan Carr, who is the FCC commissioner, stated in a letter he wrote to both Google and Apple CEOs that “TikTok is not just another video app.” He added, “It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.”

In the letter, they say reference the Buzzfeed investigation and also said that a member of Tiktok’s trust and safety department stated that “everything is seen in China.” They go onto say that a Tiktok engineer based in Beijing stated that he had “access to everything.” The engineer also referred to himself as a “master admin.”

The letter gives a deadline date of 18 July 2022 to provide answers to 11 questions including a request for specific TikTok employees who may have had access to US data. 

Maureen Shanahan, a spokesperson for TikTok, issued a statement to respond to the allegations: “We know we’re among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data. That’s why we hire experts in their fields, continually work to validate our security standards, and bring in reputable, independent third parties to test our defenses.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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