(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- The Federal Bureau of Investigation has “national security concerns” about the United States operations at TikTok, according to the agency’s head.
While speaking at a hearing of the House Homeland Security meeting on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency believes China’s government has the potential to use the social media app to either control Americans’ mobile devices or influence their thinking. The director testified only a few days after GOP lawmakers introduced a new bill that would ban TikTok across the country.
There are “a number of concerns” the FBI has, according to Wray. He commented:
“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose, or to control software on millions of devices, which gives it an opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices.”
As of September of last year, TikTok had 1 billion active users on a monthly basis. ByteDance is the Chinese company that owns the wildly popular social media app.
National security laws that exist in China could compel any domestic or foreign firm that operates within China to share the data they have with the Communist government if they make that request.
Many in the U.S. intelligence community worry that the Chinese Communist Party is using the broad authority that it has to gather personal data, commercial secrets that are proprietary as well as sensitive intellectual property.
For quite some time now, TikTok has fired back that all data from U.S. users is stored within America, and that the company doesn’t comply with the government in China about its requirements for content moderation.
In July, though, the company did acknowledge that employees who aren’t from the United States do have access to the user data of American users.
That admission came one month after Buzzfeed News cited leaked audio from a meeting that proved employees at ByteDance have accessed the non-public data of American users on multiple occasions. This includes the users’ birth dates and phone numbers.
Just last month, Forbes issued a report that said ByteDance had plans to use its social media app “to monitor the personal location of some specific American citizens.” Officials with the company denied that report.
During his testimony at the House hearing, Wray says the law in China requires all companies to “do whatever the government wants them to do in terms of sharing information or serving as a tool of the Chinese government. And, so that’s plenty of reason by itself to be extremely concerned.”
Over the last couple of years, the FBI has shifted a lot of its international focus over to China. Back in July, the director said that China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security,” while also accusing government officials there of interfering in recent U.S. elections.