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Senators Urge FTC to Investigate TikTok Over Reports of China’s Access to Data of US Users

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Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., a three-time Wash100 Award winner, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media platform TikTok and its parent company ByteDance in light of recent reports that people in China have been accessing U.S. users’ private data.

The lawmakers aired concerns over TikTok’s misrepresentation of its corporate governance practices after a news report revealed that engineering teams at the social media platform report to ByteDance leadership in China, Rubio’s office said Wednesday.

“In light of this new report, we ask that your agency immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok, and coordinate this work with any national security or counterintelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice,” the senators wrote in a July 5 letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan.

The lawmakers also cited the vulnerability of users’ data to extrajudicial access by Chinese security services since updates to the platform’s privacy policy indicate that TikTok may be gathering faceprints, voiceprints and other biometric data.

Warner and Rubio serve as chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, respectively.