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Apple, Google called on by Democratic senator to ban TikTok in app stores

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet calls on tech giants Apple and Google to remove TikTok on its digital app stores over security concerns.

Video transcript


SEANA SMITH: Let's get you up to speed on the fight against TikTok. Senator Michael Bennet demanding that Apple and Google, quote, "immediately revoke-- remove TikTok from the app stores." Now, the senator writing a letter addressed directly to Sundar Pichai and also to Tim Cook, calling TikTok's influence a threat to national security. Bennet is just the latest in a string of lawmakers fighting to ban the social media app. We spoke to Senator Mark Warner about this issue last November, and he explained his concerns. Let's listen.


MARK WARNER: I'm afraid how that information could be potentially used to leverage people's behavior, to expose things that are inappropriate. And just the same way we were concerned about a lot of our information being monetized or manipulated by Facebook, I think you ought to have those same concerns and even more so when you're talking about TikTok.

SEANA SMITH: Certainly a lot of concern there from inside the Beltway, Dave, just about the national security concerns that's posed by TikTok. We know the CEO of TikTok will be testifying in front of lawmakers next month. He certainly has an uphill battle there convincing them that they should not be worried.

DAVE BRIGGS: It's a lot like Ticketmaster when Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut senator, recently said, congratulations, Ticketmaster, you have united Republicans and Democrats. We're starting to see that with TikTok, where there is an emerging bipartisan consensus that it is dangerous. I do want to mention TikTok pushed back strongly on that letter from Senator Bennet, saying it "relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, our data security controls, and ignores considerable investment we have made." They added on that they've spent 1.5 billion to really revamp their US data security.

I don't know that that'll do much to assuage these congressmen. But there's not a big enough group to make a lot of movement, to make enough noise yet. Yet. But it certainly is building. It's not like some of those stories that are beginning to fade. Consider way back when Donald Trump, President Trump, first proposed this. It has really climbed a mountain from then maybe. If I am Meta, if I am Mark Zuckerberg, I am lobbying DC heavy on this because if it is banned-- boy, they had a good number yesterday and a great day today. If it is banned, sky is the limit, for reals.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, certainly, it would be-- it would be great news there for some of the competitors here in the US. We know that the concerns have prompted US government to ban TikTok from official devices. More than half of the US states have taken similar measures here. So those concerns are widespread. But, Dave, like you were saying, until we see more Democrats coming over to the other side and agreeing with what we've heard from many Republicans, many of the GOP party with their concern, voicing the concern about banning TikTok or the reason to ban TikTok here in the US, it's likely that we won't see much movement on that front.

DAVE BRIGGS: Really may come down more than Congress to the Committee on Foreign Investment, who really handles this. And when you step back and just look at how the Biden administration is handling issues like this, the momentum is all towards not necessarily breaking up big tech, but certainly trying to. We saw Lina Khan lose a bit of a case with Meta yesterday. But look at what they said about Google. They are trying to at least investigate, the DOJ, whether that needs breaking up. All the momentum is against big tech as far as legislatively.