US senator claims China is spying on ‘TikTok’ users

Senator claims China is spying on TikTok users
US Senator Josh Hawley

Chinese-owned social media company, TikTok, a popular mobile phone application has been said to be used by the China developers to spy on its users.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., A U.S. senator made this known on Tuesday, 6th November, 2019- at the opening of a hearing of the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee- and demanded that the social media company should be called to appear before the congress to address these issues.

Informing the parents of the danger of the app, he said the company compromised by the Chinese Communist Party are aware of the whereabouts of the users, what they look like, what their voices sound like, what they’re watching and what they share with each other.

This is an infringement on the privacy of the users.

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TikTok has been downloaded more than 1.3 billion times, and a survey conducted in late September concluded that about the same number of teens ages 13 to 16 years old use TikTok as use Facebook, Yahoo News reports.

Providing solutions to the issue, the senator suggests the company should come under oath and inform the public the truth about their application, its ambitions and what they’re doing with the data they are gathering.

In reply to this allegation, TikTok sent a letter to Hawley and ranking subcommittee member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, on Monday saying it takes data privacy concerns “incredibly seriously.”

The company, which is owned by Chinese artificial intelligence firm ByteDance, denied any influence from the government in Beijing.

According to Vanessa Pappas, General Manager of TikTok U.S.;

“No governments, foreign or domestic, direct how we moderate TikTok content. … We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content, and we would not do so if asked.”

TikTok came under fire in September when videos featuring anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong were conspicuously absent on the app.

However, it cannot be confirmed if Hawley’s concern is political or it is genuinely about an infringement on the users’ privacy.