- The wildly popular social app TikTok is owned and operated by a Chinese company, ByteDance, prompting critics to accuse it of being a tool for the Chinese government to collect data.
- As such, both major US political parties have warned staff members not to use the app on their personal devices, according to CNN.
- Representatives for both parties cited security as the reason for warning staff. “If you are using TikTok for campaign work, we recommend using a separate phone and account,” the Democratic staff memo said.
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Representatives for both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee cited security concerns with TikTok as the reason, as critics have suggested the app could be used as a data-collection tool for the Chinese government.
“The RNC has advised employees and stakeholders to not download the TikTok app on their personal devices,” the RNC’s national press secretary, Mandi Merritt, told CNN. Merritt pointed to “security concerns” as the reason for the advisory.
Similarly, the DNC warned staff back in December about TikTok.
“If you are using TikTok for campaign work, we recommend using a separate phone and account,” a memo obtained by CNN said. The memo reportedly warned DNC staff members about both TikTok and a Russian app named FaceApp.
ByteDance issued a statement regarding the warnings.
“We are fully committed to protecting our users’ privacy and security,” the statement said. “Under the leadership of our American CEO, along with our Chief Information Security Officer and Head of Safety, TikTok’s growing US team works diligently to develop a best-in-class security infrastructure and uphold our Community Guidelines which prohibit misleading and inauthentic content and accounts.”
President Donald Trump’s administration has warned that the app could be outright banned in the US. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said TikTok users risked their data ending up “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
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