FBI Concerned About TikTok 12/03 07:29
WASHINGTON (AP) -- FBI Director Chris Wray is raising national security
concerns about TikTok, warning Friday that control of the popular video sharing
app is in the hands of a Chinese government "that doesn't share our values."
Wray said the FBI was concerned that the Chinese had the ability to control
the app's recommendation algorithm, "which allows them to manipulate content,
and if they want to, to use it for influence operations." He also asserted that
China could use the app to collect data on its users that could be used for
traditional espionage operations.
"All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn't share our
values and that has a mission that's very much at odds with what's in the best
interests of the United States. That should concern us," Wray told an audience
at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
Those concerns are similar to ones he raised during congressional
appearances last month when the issue came up. And they come during ongoing
dialogue in Washington about the app.
TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. A TikTok spokesperson did not
immediately return an email seeking comment on Friday.
But at a Senate hearing in September, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa
Pappas responded to questions from members of both parties by saying that the
company protects all data from American users and that Chinese government
officials have no access to it.
"We will never share data, period," Pappas said.
Concerned about China's influence over TikTok, the Trump administration in
2020 threatened to ban the app within the U.S. and pressured ByteDance to sell
TikTok to a U.S. company. U.S. officials and the company are now in talks over
a possible agreement that would resolve American security concerns, a process
that Wray said was taking place across U.S. government agencies.