GOP senator calls on Yellen to 'ensure' TikTok severs its connections to China

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote Monday asking Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to "ensure" that the social media giant TikTok fully cuts its ties with China. TikTok's

parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, a relationship that has become the subject of intense scrutiny from lawmakers as the U.S. assesses its relationship with the Chinese

government. TikTok's chief operating officer, Vanessa Pappas, was grilled by senators on Capitol Hill last week at a hearing with leaders from several major social media

companies. "This shocking testimony calls for action," Hawley wrote in his letter, asking Yellen "to exercise your responsibilities as [chair of the Committee on Foreign

Investment in the United States] to ensure that the Chinese company ByteDance fully divests TikTok and that TikTok sever any connections with any other Chinese

company." Hawley pointed to Pappas’ saying when he questioned her at Wednesday's Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that Chinese-based

engineers who work for the company have access to user data, although she insisted the company has "strict controls in terms of who and how our data is accessed," adding that

U.S.-based user data is stored in the U.S. Chinese engineers with access to the user data have it "to perform daily duties," like site performance management and book

handling, she said. "Does any employee who has access to U.S. user data, are they members of the Chinese Communist Party?" Hawley pressed. Pappas said that TikTok could not

attest to the political affiliation of all employees and that no other global technology platform "could make that assertion," either.