Apple must ban TikTok over Chinese data collection, claims senator

TikTok app on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

United States Senator Michael Bennet says that both Apple and Google should kick TikTok out of their respective app stores over the social network's collection of user data.

Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado, has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet chief Sundar Pichai to tell them that no company that could be on the receiving end of “Chinese Communist Party dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population.”

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company frequently accused of collecting data on U.S. citizens.

"It's irresponsible"

In an interview with The New  York Times Bennet reportedly said that “it’s irresponsible for us to make [data] available the way we have, and I hope that Apple and Google will take this as an opportunity to lead in this debate.”

The concern is that TikTok, and by association ByteDance, may be making information on American citizens available to the Chinese government.

Brooke Oberwetter, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said says that any concerns about the company are based on “misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls.” She also pointed to what TikTok calls "Project Texas," a plan “to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform.”

The request for Apple to ban TikTok from the App Store comes at a time when the company is in a difficult position with China. Apple continues to work to reduce its reliance on the country where many of its products are built following high-profile manufacturing issues.

Those issues recently saw Apple's best iPhones become almost impossible to buy thanks to Chinese COVID-19 lockdowns and worker unrest that brought one vital Foxconn plant to its knees.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.