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Pressure Builds For Biden To Act On TikTok Probe

Calls for an investigation into the security risks posed by the video app TikTok are widening, adding to pressure on President Biden to make good on his year-old promise to get tough on apps that could share Americans’ personal data with foreign adversaries, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the panel’s top Republican sent a joint letter to the Federal Trade Commission this week urging an investigation of TikTok’s data-handling and other practices. TikTok’s parent, ByteDance Ltd., has its headquarters in Beijing. The letter from Sens. Mark Warner (D., Va.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) followed reports by BuzzFeed that ByteDance’s employees in China have repeatedly accessed U.S. users’ personal data.“We ask that your agency immediately initiate [an] investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok” concerning its data-handling and corporate- governance practices, said the lawmakers’ letter.


TikTok said that it is making progress in sharply limiting access to its data on Americans.

“For two years, we’ve talked openly about our work to limit access to user data across regions,” a spokeswoman said. “As we’ve said repeatedly, TikTok has never shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government, nor would we if asked.” The letter is the latest in a recent series of calls for action directed at the Biden administration by lawmakers and others as controversy over TikTok and its ability to gather—and share—U.S. users’ data builds again. So far the White House has given few indications of what, if anything, it will do. Biden in June 2021 revoked a series of Trump-era actions regarding TikTok, saying they were effectively unenforceable in the face of successful legal challenges.