After weeks of media outlets accusing messaging app ToTok of using spyware to do digital surveillance on citizens of the UAE, co-founder Giacomo Zani posted a statement on Twitter denying these allegations. He also took the opportunity to appeal to both Google and Apple to make the app available on their respective app stores as the move is “seriously hurting” the company which is just made up of “international entrepreneurs” and not backed by or linked to any authoritarian government.
Arabian Business reports that Ziani tagged both Google head Sundar Pichai and Apple boss Tim Cook in his short Twitter post, saying that their aim with the app was to “make people’s digital lives easier” and that both user privacy and data protection are their top priorities. He emphasized that they are not linked to the UAE, the US or China, and the app is not being used as a spyware for its users.
He also shared that ever since both Google and Apple removed the app from their app stores, they have been working with their review team to check out the concerns raised by some media outlets. “ToTok most strictly complies with every exact requirement,” he emphasized. He also offered to meet with both companies to personally address other issues and concerns that have prevented them from bringing back the app.
For a few weeks now, media outlets have been reporting on the app’s alleged misuse of user data and that they were in fact, spying for the UAE government. The app became popular in several countries but most especially in the Middle Eastern country since a lot of messaging apps have restricted features there. Some reports looked into the companies behind the app and raised their suspicions about who’s really funding the company.
As of this writing, the app is still not available to new users as it’s still out of Google Play Store. But existing users say they are still able to use the app for free calls, which is one of its most popular features.