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Senator Calls on Apple, Google to Remove TikTok From App Stores

The app poses a unique security concern compared with other social media platforms, says a US senator.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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TikTok is facing more heat from government officials in the United States. On Thursday, a US senator called on Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to remove TikTok from Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store. 

"TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints," US Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, said in a letter to the executives Thursday. "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.'"

TikTok is up against growing security concerns in the US. The FBI has called the app a national security threat, and the Biden administration reportedly pushed for the app's owners to sell its US operations. 

"Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately," Bennet wrote.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has agreed to testify before a House of Representatives committee in March. A TikTok spokesperson previously told CNET that the company welcomes the chance to "set the record straight about TikTok, ByteDance, and the commitments we are making to address concerns about U.S. national security."

Governors across the US have banned TikTok from state-run devices and wireless networks over privacy and data security issues. Ohio, New Jersey and Georgia are among the states to ban the app from state-owned devices. 

For more, check out why US states are banning TikTok and what to know about TikTok national security concerns.