Sen. Michael Bennet wants Apple and Google to drop TikTok from their app stores

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TikTok Ban Mississippi
Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet shares the same national security concerns as many other lawmakers over the popular, Chinese-owned social media app TikTok. 

And he wants to see something done quickly.

Bennet has written to the heads of Apple and Google asking them “to remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately.”

The Democrat, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, points out in his letter to Apple’s Tim Cook and Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) Sundar Pichai, that the app “collects vast and sophisticated data from users, including faceprints and voice prints.”

“TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to ‘support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work.’”

Bennet is worried that the Chinese Communist Party “could weaponize TikTok against the United States.”

TikTok has more than 100 million users in the United States, according to Bennet’s letter.

It’s these same privacy and national security concerns that led Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley to introduce a bill last week to ban TikTok in the United States.

“They are gathering information on Americans that they will use in a cyber war against America,” Buck told CPR News, noting a user might not think much of giving the company their birth date. But add that to their bank information and other personal information, and the result could be used against them. “And if we don't seek to protect Americans that don't understand and don't understand what the Chinese Communist Party is doing, we're making a big mistake.”

Buck said he’s asking for the platform to be purchased by a U.S. company if it wants to keep operating in the United States.

The two GOP lawmakers got a bill passed last Congress banning TikTok on government devices, but it took over a year and half to make it through the process to the president’s desk.

Going straight to the companies might limit access sooner than a bill through Congress, if they’re interested in complying.

Lawmakers will get a chance to ask TikTok’s chief executive questions next month, when he’s scheduled to testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.