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FBI Director Raises National Security Concerns About TikTok
FBI Director Chris Wray is raising national security concerns about the TikTok platform, warning Friday that control of the popular video-sharing app is in the hands of a Chinese government "that does not share our values."
Mr. Wray said the FBI was concerned that the Chinese had the ability to control the app's recommendation algorithm, "which allows them to manipulate the content, and if they want to, use it for influence operations." He also claimed that China could use the app to collect data on its users that could be used for traditional espionage operations.
"All of this is at the hands of a government that does not share our values and that has a mission that is very contrary to what is in the best interest of the United States. That should concern us," Mr. Wray to an audience at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
Those concerns are similar to those he raised during congressional hearings last month when the issue arose and during an ongoing dialogue in Washington about the app.
TikTok is owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance. A TikTok spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on Friday.
But at a Senate hearing in September, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas responded to bipartisan questions by saying the company protects all US user data and that Chinese government officials do not have access to them.
"We will never share data, period," Ms. Pappas said.
Concerned about China's influence over TikTok, the Trump administration in 2020 threatened to ban the app within the US and pressured ByteDance to sell the TikTok platform to an American company. US officials and the company are now in talks about a possible deal that would address US security concerns, a process Mr Wray said was taking place across US government agencies. VOA