Blackburn, Blumenthal accuse TikTok of misleading Congress on handling of US users' data

After an alarming report by Forbes, these two senators are pressing for answers

Published: June 8, 2023 1:27pm

Updated: June 8, 2023 3:34pm

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn are suggesting TikTok's CEO provided false testimony at a recent congressional hearing about how the China-based app stores the personal data of U.S. customers and are urging him to be more forthcoming. 

Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, raised their concern to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew in a letter Tuesday in which they also wanted to know about the Chinese Communist Party's access such data – stored by the apps parent company, ByteDance. 

The senators' concerns about potentially false testimony follows a Forbes report that concluded TikTok has stored on servers in China such personal information about U.S. users as their tax ID and driver's license and social security numbers and that company employees have access to the data.

Chew testified in May before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that U.S. user data is stored in Virginia and Singapore.

"These reports," the letter states, "directly contradict statements you and other TikTok representatives have made to the public and under oath before Congress about where TikTok stores U.S. user data and the ability of employees in China to access that information"

The letter includes 14 questions for which the senators want answers including ones about the sharing of user data among TikTok employees, the handling of sexually explicit images of children on the platform and why false testimony would have been made.

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