Almost 60 percent of Americans believe that the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok should be removed from app stores after revelations that American user data has been repeatedly accessed in China, according to a new poll.
In a survey conducted by the Convention of States Action and Trafalgar Group, 58.6 percent of respondents said they supported “efforts to remove TikTok from app stores now that the company has revealed American’s user data can be accessed by TikTok employees in China.”
Meanwhile, 17.8 percent of respondents were opposed to such action, and 23.6 percent said they were not sure. The poll was conducted from July 7 to July 10, surveying more than 1,000 likely 2022 election voters with a margin of error of 2.9 percent.
The results came less than a month after leaked recordings of internal company meetings obtained by Buzzfeed News allegedly showed that from least September 2021 to January, engineers in China had access to the app’s U.S. data.
TikTok employees at times had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how U.S. data was flowing, which the U.S. staff weren’t authorized to independently access, according to the report.
The July survey showed that Independents (56.9 percent) and Republicans (76.8 percent) were more likely to support measures to remove TikTok, while 39.2 percent of Democrats agreed with this proposal.
The recent revelations have renewed scrutiny on the app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, that officials and experts say may be used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for espionage and to conduct information operations. They cite national security laws in the country that compel companies to cooperate with Chinese intelligence agencies when asked.
TikTok has repeatedly denied such allegations, saying that it stores U.S. user data on servers outside of China and that it would never allow Beijing to access such information.
By Cathy He