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Senators Seek FTC Investigation of TikTok

TikTok
(Image credit: TikTok)

Legislators from both sides of the aisle -- Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) -- have teamed up to urge the Federal Trade Commission to investigate over-the-top video clip streaming site TikTok based on reports that suggest the Chinese-based company is not insulated from the Chinese government's demands for data on U.S. users.

Warner and Rubio are the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, the senators cited a BuzzFeed story about leaked internal TikTok meeting data showing U.S. user data had been accessed from China.

Also: FCC's Carr Tells App Stores TikTok Has to Go

They said they wanted her to immediately launch a Sec. 5 investigation, which is an inquiry into potential false and deceptive conduct. That includes that the site offered employees in China "unfettered access to user information, including birthdates, phone numbers, and device identification information."

They told Khan that TikTok had appeared to misrepresent its relationship to its ByteDance parent and subsidiaries, one of which, ByteDance Technology, is partially owned by the Chinese Communist Party, and that updates to TikTok's privacy policy that indicate that the site may be collecting biometric data "heighten their concern." ■

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.