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TikTok CEO called to explain ‘inaccurate’ statements about how company manages US data

NEW YORK (AP) – Two United States (US) senators are asking TikTok to explain what they called “misleading or inaccurate” responses about how it stores and provides access to US user data after recent news reports raised questions about how the Chinese-owned social media platform handles some sensitive information.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to TikTok Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shou Zi Chew, US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn cited a report from Forbes that said TikTok had stored financial information of US content creators who get paid by the company – including their social security numbers and tax IDs – on China-based servers.

The senators also cited another report from The New York Times, published in late May, that said TikTok employees regularly shared user information, such as driver’s licences information of some American users, on an internal messaging app called Lark that employees from TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, could easily access.Forbes first reported on Wednesday on the letter.

TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek said, “We are reviewing the letter. We remain confident in the accuracy of our testimony and responses to Congress.”

TikTok has said servers that contain US user data have been physically stored in Virginia and Singapore, where its headquartered. But who can access that data – and from where – is an ongoing question.

Photo shows the icon for TikTok. PHOTO: AP
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