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Dem Senator asks Google, Apple to remove TikTok from US app stores

TikTok (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 03, 2023

One Democratic senator is pushing top app stores to remove TikTok over national security concerns.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the leaders of Apple and Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) to urge their app stores to stop offering the social media video platform.

“No company subject to CCP (Chinese Communist Party) dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population,” Bennet wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cooks and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

“Given these risks, I urge you to remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately,” he added.

Several states have already enacted executive orders to ban the use of TikTok on government devices. Until Bennet’s letter, Republicans have led the push against the Chinese-owned company.

In addition to Bennet’s letter, the House and Senate approved a ban on TikTok on federal government devices as part of the December $1.7 trillion spending bill signed by President Joe Biden.

READ MORE: TikTok spent $1.5 billion to ease US gov’t nat’l security concerns: Report

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a bill last month that would ban TikTok nationwide.

“TikTok poses a threat to all Americans who have the app on their devices. It opens the door for the Chinese Communist Party to access Americans’ personal information, keystrokes, and location through aggressive data harvesting. Banning it on government devices was a step in the right direction, but now is the time to ban it nationwide to protect the American people,” Hawley said in a statement.

Republican Rep. Ken Buck (CO) introduced a companion bill in the House. 

“TikTok is a clear threat to our privacy and national security. Not only is TikTok directly associated with the Chinese Communist Party, but it has been used to spy on Americans and gain an alarming level of access to users’ phones. This should concern every citizen who values their privacy, security, and personal information. Banning CCP tied TikTok nationwide is the only route to ending this malicious cybersecurity threat,” Buck wrote in the statement.

“I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside Sen. Josh Hawley to ensure that every Americans’ privacy and security is protected from hostile foreign entities,” he noted.

Prior to the bill’s introduction, former President Donald Trump sought to ban TikTok through an executive order in 2020. The order was never implemented due to legal challenges and was replaced by a different executive action by Biden in 2021.