That the United States has declared war on TikTok, it’s not new. The US government and the ByteDance app have had a relationship of permanent tension since the Donald Trump government, and things have not changed much with Joe Biden in the White House. But accusations of espionage against the social network have intensified in recent times, to the point that a legislator asked Apple and Google to remove it from their respective app stores.
The senator michael bennettwho sits on the US Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai in which claimed for the blocking of TikTok in the App Store and the Play Store. In her letter, she stressed the dangers that the video platform represents today, as it is required by Chinese law to “support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
The Democratic politician went further and assured that, under its current format, TikTok represents a threat to the national security of the United States. “No company bound by the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party should have the power to amass such vast data on the American people, or to curate the content accessed by a third of our population. Given such risks, I urge you to remove TikTok immediately from your respective app stores,” the text continues.
The Verge mentions that Bennet is the first North American legislator to openly ask Google and Apple to ban the download of TikTok from the Play Store and App Store. For now, Both Californian companies have not made public statements about the senator’s request. However, today it seems unlikely that the firms will advance on their own in implementing a block to the popular video app.
TikTok faces increasing pressure in the US
The negative sentiment of the US political arc against TikTok has skyrocketed again since the end of 2022. In December, ByteDance confirmed that four of its employees had accessed the personal data of users in the United States, including journalists. This occurred during a supposed investigation to detect information leaks within the company. The workers in question were identified and firedbut the situation reactivated a broader debate in North America.
For several months, TikTok has been negotiating with the White House to establish a new structure to store the data of its American users. ByteDance proposed create a North American subsidiary and move all the information to a cloud infrastructure provided and managed by Oracle. However, the fine print has not been completed and the deal is already facing several delays.
Meanwhile, the United States authorities charge everything against the platform. TikTok can no longer be downloaded on mobile devices for official use in government areas or agencies. While several universities prevent access to the social network through WiFi networks on their campuses.
As Senator Bennet explained in his letter, at least 27 state governments have already implemented partial or total blocks on the app. Although that does not prevent TikTok from continuing to be an extremely popular platform in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that in that country it is used by 61% of young people between the ages of 12 and 34. And the average use of the app was 29 hours a month, well above the time spent on Facebook and Instagram combined.