TikTok has finally admitted that it unlawfully stored American data in China, despite claiming otherwise.
This ByteDance-owned company is the world’s fastest growing social media app. But in a letter Thursday, TikTok admitted that certain creator data is stored on servers in China. The news follows public scrutiny of TikTok and its data storage practices, as well as its Chinese property and business laws, which mandate CCP accountability for Chinese-owned companies.
The letter defines a TikTok creator as “someone who enters into a business relationship with TikTok,” such as influencers who create paid content for the app. Contracts and related documents are recorded outside the US in a letter to two US Senators.
“TikTok has not been asked for this data by either the Chinese government or the CCP. “TikTok has not and would not provide any such data to the Chinese government or the CCP,” the company said in a statement.
“We are extremely concerned that TikTok is storing Americans’ personal, private information within the reach of the Chinese government,” said U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-NY) in a statement. “TikTok’s response makes it clear that Americans’ data is still subject to Beijing’s draconian and pervasive espionage regimes — despite the claims of TikTok’s misleading PR campaign.”
The United States government and several branches of the military have banned the controversial app from federal devices. Montana was the first state in the United States to ban TikTok for all of its citizens, although it’s debatable how enforceable that law will be. TikTok was also banned Devices used by British government officials Earlier this year there were concerns that it could be used to collect sensitive data about important government figures or that the data collected by the app could be used to “exploit our vulnerabilities”.
TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the state of Montana, alleging the First Amendment and a violation of Americans’ right to free speech.