Social media app TikTok hit back at accusations from US senators that it is obliged to surrender data to the Chinese government, stating it had never been asked to remove content and would refuse any such request.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton urged the US National Counterterrorism Centre to investigate the app and other China-owned content platforms operating in the US. “With over 110 million downloads in the US alone, TikTok is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore,” they stated.

“Security experts have voiced concern that China’s intelligence, national security, and cybersecurity laws compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party”.

TikTok released a statement shortly after, vehemently denying the assertion. “Let us be very clear: TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China.”

“We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government: TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future.”

TikTok said data from US users are stored in the country, with a backup in Singapore. Main data centres are located outside of China, meaning “none of our data is subject to Chinese law”.

The US senators, however, refuted this, saying TikTok owner ByteDance is still required to adhere to Chinese laws.