According to the FBI, the Chinese government could use TikTok to control the data of millions of American users.
The Chinese-owned video app “screams” security concerns, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday.
He told the Senate Intelligence Committee on global threats to U.S. security that the Chinese government could use social media platforms to control software on millions of devices and push narratives that divide Americans over Taiwan or other issues.
Expressing concern that China might be giving users misinformation, Mr Lei said: “Yes, I would specifically point out the last issue, we’re not sure if if it’s happening.”
“It’s a tool that is ultimately within the control of the Chinese government — to me, it’s driven by national security concerns,” he added.
The move comes after the White House backed legislation introduced Tuesday by a dozen senators that would give President Joe Biden’s administration new powers to ban TikTok and other foreign technologies if they pose a national security threat.
That support has fueled efforts by some politicians to ban the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and used by more than 100 million Americans.
TikTok views on eating disorder content continue to climb, study shows
China’s leading genetics company ‘trying to hack NHS genome database’
China’s foreign minister warns ‘reckless’ US could spark ‘catastrophic’ conflict
Several other senior U.S. intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes, CIA Director William Burns and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone, also agreed at the hearing that TikTok poses a threat to U.S. national security.
In Senate testimony on Tuesday, Mr. Nakasone raised concerns about TikTok’s data harvesting and potential to facilitate widespread influence operations.