“Like most social media networks, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users,” Bennet said. “Unlike most social media networks, TikTok poses a unique concern.”
He added that “TikTok’s vast influence and aggressive data collection pose a specific threat to U.S. national security because of its parent company’s obligations under Chinese law.”
TikTok, which has more than 100 million monthly active users in the United States, has come under increased investigation from state and federal authorities over concerns that Chinese authorities may obtain American data.
Congress removed the TikTok app from all federally owned devices in December.
The committee announced on Monday that the chief executive officer of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March regarding the company’s data security procedures.
“Unfortunately, Senator Bennet’s letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls,” TikTok told ABC News.
“It also ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas—a plan negotiated with our country’s top national security experts—to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform,” the company added.
“We are disappointed that many state agencies, offices, and universities will no longer be able to use TikTok to build communities and connect with constituents,” the company added.
The security of user data has been questioned in recent news reports.
In June, Buzzfeed revealed that TikTok developers working in China had accessed private data on American users, including phone numbers. According to a Forbes article from October, the parent firm of TikTok, ByteDance, aimed to exploit the app to collect user data.
Bennet said TikTok poses “an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States.”
He addressed Cook and Pichai directly: “Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately.”