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A Colorado Democrat and a Colorado Republican are leading the push for TikTok ban.

Colorado Democrat and Republican lead push for ban on TikTok
Colorado Democrat and Republican lead push for ban on TikTok 03:28

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican Rep Ken Buck are leading a charge to ban TikTok in the United States.

The Chinese-owned app is one of the top social media apps in the world with more than a billion monthly users.  

Bennet asked Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores one week after Buck introduced legislation to ban it altogether in the U.S.     

Two years ago, former President Donald Trump also tried to ban TikTok from app stores but his effort failed in court.

Both Bennet and Buck suggest the app is a trojan horse, a means by which the Chinese Communist Party can access our personal information and engage in espionage, blackmail and propaganda.

"The difference between TikTok and these other platforms is basically owned by the Communist Party of China and that is a massive difference," said Bennet, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He says TikTok poses a threat to national security, noting a third of Americans spend 80 minutes a day on the app, which uses artificial intelligence and algorithms - written in China - to determine what Americans see.

"They can hoover up people's data, their likes and dislikes, the videos they watch, the ones they haven't watched and they can use it for anything," he said. 

He says those uses include everything from sewing division in the U.S. to manipulating elections, blackmailing people and spreading propaganda. 

In his letter to Apple and Google, Bennet says, "No company subject to Chinese Communist Party dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population."

Because TikTok's parent company - ByteDance - is based in Beijing and, because Chinese law obligates companies to "support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work."

Bennet says, "the Chinese Communist Party could weaponize TikTok against the U.S." 

He added, "there really is a national security concern here and I think that concern is only going to grow as people look at this and I think it's incumbent on people who are in positions of responsibility - in this case on the Intelligence Committee - to at least share my best judgment based on what I've heard on that committee."

Buck sponsored a law last year banning TikTok on government-owned devices and nearly half of all states have also banned it from state-owned devices. Colorado is not among them.     

A spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis says he has "reviewed best practices for social media usage on state devices to ensure that personal social media (accounts) are not used except for legitimate state purposes like communications outreach."

TikTok sent CBS News Colorado a statement saying:

"Unfortunately, Senator Bennet's letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls. It also ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas - a plan negotiated with our country's top national security experts - to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform." 

The Biden administration is still reviewing the plan.

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