Sen. Cotton warns on TikTok: 'Threat' to privacy, security of Americans

'No such thing as a private company that has the ability to protect private, personal information inside of China,' Sen. Tom Cotton said.

Sen. Tom Cotton warned Americans against using the Chinese social media application TikTok on Wednesday, noting that there is "no such thing" as a private company inside China that would protect personal information, as the Trump administration considers banning the app in the U.S. altogether.

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Cotton, R-Ark., during a call with reporters Wednesday, warned that the application "poses a threat to the privacy and security of Americans."

"I urged the Department of Defense to prevent the use of TikTok on young soldiers and sailors, but that threat is not limited to our service members," Cotton said. "I would encourage every parent to consider whether or not they should let their kids put TikTok on their devices, and think about whether we want to allow it."

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Cotton went on to praise President Trump's administration for considering restricting access to the app for Americans, saying that he is "taking appropriate steps to evaluate whether it should even be used in this country."

Cotton noted that India has already taken the steps to officially restrict the TikTok app in the country. Politicians in Australia are also calling for the app to be banned.

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TikTok is a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, but is not available in China. The company has also tried to distance itself from its Chinese roots.

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Critics have consistently raised concerns on Chinese companies, including TikTok, and how they handle user data.

"There really is no such thing as a private company that has the ability to protect private, personal information inside of China," Cotton warned. "I think all Americans should be worried about Chinese-based apps like TikTok."

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Cotton's comments came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week said that the Trump administration is considering restricting U.S. users' access to the app over concerns it is potentially being used by the Beijing government as a way to surveil and propagandize people.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) participates in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on January 25, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

"We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it's the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure -- we've gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out -- we had declared ZTE a danger to American national security," said Pompeo.

"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too," he said, adding that he did not want to dive into specifics and potentially "get ahead" of any presidential announcement.

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"But, it is something we are looking at," he said, going on to warn Americans that they should be cautious in using TikTok, lest they want their private information "in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

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