U.S. Senator Michael Bennett demanded that Google and Apple remove the short video service TikTok from their app stores. The lawmaker sent relevant letters to the heads of the companies Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook.
Bennett's initiative was another move by Congress to ban the service, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Since January, U.S. lawmakers have urged their colleagues and President Joe Biden's administration to impose stricter data collection restrictions or a nationwide ban on TikTok, citing risks to the national security of the United States.
Bennet became the first lawmaker to ask vendors to remove TikTok from digital stores directly.
ByteDance has been in talks with U.S. federal authorities for more than three years. The company is in discussions with the U.S. Foreign Investment Committee about continuing to operate TikTok in the country. The platform has faced growing scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers who fear the app is handing over user data in the U.S. to the Chinese government.
Last year, TikTok CEO Shaw Zee Chu unveiled a plan to move all data from Virginia and Singapore to Oracle servers, which would be controlled by TikTok subsidiary US Data Security Inc.
All of these initiatives have not had the effect ByteDance expected. Attempts by American authorities to ban TikTok only intensified after the publication of information that over the past few years ByteDance repeatedly accessed data of users from the United States. The Chinese side confirmed information from the story and fired four employees involved in the scheme.
The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Chu's participation in a March congressional hearing that will focus on user security in the United States.
Big technology is increasingly becoming a disruptive force in American society, said Kathy McMorris-Rogers, chairman of the U.S. House Republican Conference. TikTok deliberately allowed the Chinese Communist Party to access user data in the United States, she said.
Platform spokesman Brooke Oberwetter said TikTok plans to discuss plans to protect the security of U.S. users during a March 23 hearing.