Our top story today is so important that I hope you share it with everyone. I am going to make it my USA Today column later this week. But because you get my free newsletter, you learn about another spy move from China first. — Kim
Stop before you shop
Seemingly overnight, everyone’s talking about Temu (pronounced “tee-moo”), an online shopping app that boasts deals that seem too good to be true, like $17 wireless earbuds, $1 “gold” necklaces and $23 wedding dresses.
Over 50 million Americans have downloaded Temu since it launched state-side in September 2022, after it gained traction with expensive Super Bowl ads promising to let you “shop like a billionaire.”
Today, Temu is the most popular shopping app in the U.S. behind Amazon. But most of us don’t know much about the app’s true origins. Reader Daniel Mayer asked an important question, “Is [Temu] something we should be concerned about?”
So, I did some digging. And as it turns out, yes, you absolutely should be. Here’s what I found:
Where did Temu come from?
This isn’t some fly-by-night operation. Temu is based in Boston, Massachusetts, by PDD Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: PDD). PDD is headquartered in Shanghai, China.
PDD also owns the e-commerce platform Pinduoduo headquartered in — you guessed it — China. So, Temu is a Communist China-based app and site.
What you need to know before using Temu
First, you’re buying goods directly from manufacturers in China and other parts of the world. That’s why shipping times are often 12 days or longer. The prices are low because the goods are cheap. The pictures of what you see advertised may not be what you actually get.
But that’s not the worst of it.
Temu is downright dangerous.
The app is a clever, pervasive digital stalker. As you shop, Temu monitors your activity on other apps, tracks your notifications and location and changes settings.
It gets worse. Temu gains full access to all your contacts, calendars and photo albums, plus all your social media accounts, chats and texts. In other words, literally everything on your phone.
No shopping app needs this much control, especially one tied to Communist China. If you’re using Temu, delete the app from your phone ASAP.
- On iPhone, Long-press an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App. Tap Delete to confirm.
- On Android, touch and hold an app, then tap Remove App > Delete App > Delete.
Pro tip: If you downloaded Temu, to be safe from Chinese spies, you really need to do a full factory reset.
What do I think? Americans using Temu are selling the country out for cheap crap from overseas. You can quote me on that.
But wait, there’s more! Temu’s sister app was removed from Google Play because of malware. See everything you need to know about Temu on my site.