Sen. Michael Bennet has sent a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Google asking them to remove TikTok from their app stores. The social media company has been under fire since revelations that employees of its parent company ByteDance had accessed the data of users in American. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., sent a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Google on Thursday asking them to remove TikTok from their app stores.
TikTok has come under scrutiny since it was revealed last year that employees of its parent company ByteDance had repeatedly accessed the data of United States TikTok users. An internal audit by ByteDance revealed that employees had used TikTok to spy on journalists in the United States.
"I write this with grave concern about the presence of TikTok on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store," Bennet wrote in a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
"Like most social media platforms TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints. Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to 'support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work,'" Bennet said.
Criticism of TikTok has been largely bipartisan, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with Bennet, has also raised concerns about TikTok.
"I don't know how our national security interests and operation of TikTok in this country as long as it's owned by ByteDance, can coexist," Rubio told CBS Face the Nation last month.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss customer privacy in March.