A proposal to ban TikTok in the United States “should be looked at,” according to US Senator Chuck Schumer.
“We do know there’s Chinese ownership of the company that owns TikTok. And there are some people in the Commerce Committee that are looking into that right now,” Schumer, the Senate majority leader, told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News in a Sunday interview. “We’ll see where they come out.”
US lawmakers Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, and Angus King, an independent from Maine, said Friday they had reintroduced new legislation that aims to ban TikTok from operating in the United States, unless it cut ties to its current owner.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, one of the most valuable private companies in China.
US officials have raised concerns that China could use its laws to pressure TikTok or ByteDance to hand over US user data that could be used for intelligence or disinformation purposes.
Those worries have prompted the US government to ban TikTok from official devices, and more than half of US states have taken similar measures, according to a CNN analysis.
TikTok has previously pushed back on the claims, saying it doesn’t share information with the Chinese government, and that a US-based security team decides who can access US user data from China.
The company did not immediately respond to a new request for comment on Monday morning Asia time.
TikTok’s Singaporean CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is slated to testify before Congress in March, on topics including TikTok’s privacy and data security practices, its impact on young users and its “relationship to the Chinese Communist Party,” according to a House committee statement.
The company has previously said that it welcomes “the opportunity to set the record straight about TikTok, ByteDance, and the commitments we are making.”
“We hope that by sharing details of our comprehensive plans with the full Committee, Congress can take a more deliberative approach to the issues at hand,” the TikTok spokesperson added.
-— CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this report.