TikTok hints it might have transferred US data to China

TikTok, the popular social media app owned by China-based ByteDance, might have transferred US user data to China, FCC Commissioner says.

Republican Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Brendan Carr shared an email from TikTok to US congressional staff about ‘minimizing’ data transfers to China.

“This raises lots of questions - including ones about the non- “minimized” data flows that TikTok has sent to China,” Carr Tweeted.

The email’s print screen shows TikTok’s message on ‘Keeping US user data secure,’ where the platform says it has created a division for data security that’s looking into ‘minimizing’ user data transfers across regions, including to China.

TikTok has over 1 billion users worldwide, with over 80 million in the US alone. The platform’s rising popularity in the US sparked security concerns over the platform’s data use practices. Lawmakers and think-tankers fear China could use the social network to spy on the US population and the military.

According to recent reports, audio tapes from over 80 internal TikTok meetings at platform’s owner ByteDance suggest that TikTok misled US officials and platform users with claims that the data is stored in the US and cannot be accessed by employees in China.

TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, Michael Beckerman, became the company’s first executive to appear before Congress. Reuters reported that he was primarily pressed by Republicans on worries regarding TikTok’s stewardship of data of the app’s users.

He was questioned whether TikTok could resist giving data to the Chinese government if the materials were to be demanded and insisted that the company does not share information with the Chinese authorities. Beckerman said that TikTok has “no affiliation” with Beijing ByteDance Technology.

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