Senators urge US Justice Department to probe TikTok and Zoom

Platform Economy: TikTok and US politics

Senators Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, and Josh Hawley, a Republican, wrote to the US Justice Department on Thursday to advocate a probe of technology company Zoom and Chinese-owned social media firm TikTok.

The lawmakers said Americans, many of whom are staying home because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, were substituting Zoom calls for private interaction and binging on TikTok videos.

The two senators said the firms sought to downplay their ties with China.

“Based on numerous reports, we are extremely concerned that Zoom and TikTok have disclosed private information about Americans to the [People’s Republic of China] and engaged in censorship on behalf of the Chinese government,” they stated in the letter to Assistant Attorney General John Demers.

The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Zoom said in a statement it requires”user privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously, and as always, we welcome conversations with officials about our global business practices and policies.”

Zoom shares, which traded Thursday, dropped by over 5 percent after Reuters reported the letter but recovered some losses. Its share price was down 1% in late trading Thursday at $249.93.

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TikTok, which is possessed by Beijing-based ByteDance, has stated that it stores all data in the US with backup in Singapore.

“Our content and moderation policies are led by our US-based team in California and aren’t influenced by any foreign government,” the business stated in an Email statement.

Although its is a California-based business, Zoom has large research and development centres in China that have more than 700 employees, according to a filing it made to the US government.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Diane Bartz. Additional reporting by David Shepardson and Chris Bing. Editing by Chris Reese and Aurora Ellis.

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