Pressure mounts on TikTok amid probe into national security, privacy threats

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Bipartisan pressure on the video-sharing app TikTok is mounting amid an ongoing investigation into potential threats to US national security.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company that has raised concerns that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could force the app to turn over US users’ data or expose them to propaganda.


Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va. An interview on “Fox News Sunday” that “TikTok is a huge threat.” He explained that parents should be “very concerned” because “all that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing.”

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Warner said that TikTok videos make the platform “a broadcasting network in a sense” and that because its Beijing-based parent company is required by domestic law to cooperate with the Chinese government, the company has the advantage of furthering CCP propaganda. can be raised.

The senator explained that TikTok “may reduce content that criticizes the Chinese leadership, but increase content that your kids can see saying, ‘Hey, Taiwan is part of China.’” It’s a distribution model that would pale in comparison to RT or Sputnik or some Russian propaganda model.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., expressed similar concerns about TikTok in a presence fox news sundaySaying the app is “one of the largest surveillance programs ever carried out specifically on America’s young people.”

Cotton also dismissed TikTok’s claim that its US users’ data is stored only in the US and Singapore, citing reports that such data could be accessed by engineers in China. He urged Americans to “remove TikTok from their phones, and get a new phone if they can.”

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TikTok and ByteDance are currently under investigation by the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which evaluates national security risks associated with foreign-owned companies operating in the US or foreign investments in US companies.

In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to comment specifically on TikTok in view of the ongoing investigation, but provided a general explanation of the administration’s approach to the security threats posed by digital platforms. offered.

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“Generally, the Biden administration is focused on the challenge from certain countries, including China, that are seeking to take advantage of digital technologies and Americans’ data that present an unacceptable national security risk,” the NSC spokesperson said.

Regarding the CFIUS investigation, a TikTok spokesperson told FOX Business, “While we cannot comment on the specifics of our confidential discussions with the US government, we are confident that we will do all we can to fully satisfy reasonable US national security concerns.” are on their way.”

Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee that he is “extremely concerned” about the threats posed by TikTok.

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Ray explained that those concerns “include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control recommendation algorithms, which could be used to influence operations.” That presents an opportunity to potentially technically compromise individual devices if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”

Ray noted that the FBI’s Foreign Investment Unit and the Department of Justice are involved in the CFIUS process and that the agency’s input “will be taken into account in any agreement that may be made to resolve this issue.”

Fox Business’ Edward Lawrence contributed to this report

Pressure mounts on TikTok amid probe into national security, privacy threats

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