Senators accuse TikTok of misleading Congress on US user data

Senators accuse TikTok of misleading Congress on US user data

Two senators sent a letter to TikTok’s chief executive on Tuesday, accusing him of making misleading claims about how the company stores and handles US user data, and to submit more than a dozen questions to Congress by the end of next week. Demanding to answer.

The letter from Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, and Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee focused on how sensitive data about US users could be stored in China and accessed by employees there .

The lawmakers said recent reports by The New York Times and Forbes corroborated statements made by TikTok chief executive Shaw Chew during congressional testimony in March and a hearing involving Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the US, in October 2021. raised questions about. Tiktok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

“We are deeply troubled by TikTok’s recurring pattern of providing misleading, inaccurate or inaccurate information to Congress and the United States to its users, including during oversight hearings and letters to us in response,” the senators wrote.

TikTok has been working for years to convince the US government that it can separate its US operations and lock down US user data amid concerns that the company could provide that information to Chinese authorities.

“We are reviewing the letter,” said Alex Hourek, a spokesman for TikTok. “We remain confident in the accuracy of our testimony and Congress’s responses.”

forbes informed of Last month, TikTok stored sensitive financial information on creators, including social security numbers and tax IDs, on servers in China where employees there could access them. Forbes said that TikTok uses ByteDance’s internal tools and database to manage payments to creators who earn money through the app.

The Times reported earlier this month that US user data including driver’s licenses and potentially illegal content such as child sexual abuse material was shared on TikTok and ByteDance through an internal messaging and collaboration tool called Lark.

The information was often available in Lark “groups” — employees’ chat rooms — with thousands of members, dangerous for some workers because ByteDance workers in China and elsewhere could easily view the material. The Times learned that Lark data was stored on servers in China as late as last year. At the time, TikTok did not respond to a question on whether Lark data is currently stored in China.

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