Senators Accuse TikTok of Misleading Congress on U.S. User Data

On Tuesday, two senators sent a letter to TikTok’s chief executive, accusing the company of making misleading claims to Congress about how it stores and handles US user data, until next weekend. asked to answer a dozen questions.

A letter from Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal and Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn discusses how sensitive data about U.S. users is stored in China and can be accessed by Chinese employees. The focus was on sexuality.

Lawmakers said recent reports in the New York Times and Forbes came during testimony to Congress in March by TikTok’s chief executive, Shaw Chu, and by TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, Michael Beckerman. He said he called into question statements he made at a public hearing in October 2021 that involved him. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

“We are deeply troubled by TikTok’s repeated pattern of providing misleading, inaccurate, or false information to the U.S. Congress and its users, including in responses to us in oversight hearings and letters. ,” they write.

TikTok has spent years trying to convince the U.S. government to separate its U.S. operations and block U.S. user data amid concerns that the company could provide information to Chinese authorities. .

“We are reviewing the letter,” said TikTok spokesperson Alex Howrek. “We remain confident in our testimony before Congress and the accuracy of our responses.”

forbes report Last month, TikTok announced that it stored sensitive financial information of creators, including social security numbers and tax IDs, on its servers in China and made it accessible to Chinese employees. According to Forbes, TikTok uses ByteDance’s internal tools and database to manage payments to creators who make money through the app.

Earlier this month, The Times reported that US user data, including potentially illegal content such as driver’s licenses and child sexual abuse material, had been shared between TikTok and ByteDance through an internal messaging and collaboration tool called Lark. .

This information was often available in Lark “groups” (employee chat rooms) with thousands of members, and was easily viewed by ByteDance employees in China and elsewhere, so some employees were alarmed. The Times learned that Lark data was stored on servers in China as of late last year. At the time, TikTok did not respond to questions about whether Lark’s data is currently stored in China.

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