The New York Times reports that Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) have sent a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Chew "accusing the company of making misleading claims to Congress around how it stores and handles American user data, and demanding answers to more than a dozen questions by the end of next week." The letter, the Times writes, "focused on how sensitive data about American users may be stored in China and how employees there may have access to it."
The story notes that "Forbes reported last month that TikTok has stored the sensitive financial information of creators, including Social Security numbers and tax IDs, on servers in China, where employees there can have access to them … The Times reported earlier in the month that American user data, including driver’s licenses and potentially illegal content such as child sexual abuse materials, was shared at TikTok and ByteDance through an internal messaging and collaboration tool called Lark."
Blackburn and Blumenthal wrote, "We are deeply troubled by TikTok’s recurring pattern of providing misleading, inaccurate or false information to Congress and its users in the United States, including in response to us during oversight hearings and letters."
TikTok has consistently maintained that "it can separate its U.S. operations and wall off American user data amid concerns that the company could provide that information to the Chinese authorities," the Times writes.
- KC's View:
This could be a big deal for businesses that have been growing their TikTok marketing footprints, if feds decide that its existing structure is a national security threat.