(ConservativeSense.com) – The FBI’s mission statement is pretty straightforward: to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. So, why is Director Christopher Wray raising alarms about the phone app TikTok?
Beijing-based ByteDance owns TikTok, a short-form video-sharing app featuring 15-second to 3-minute video clips. The Chinese government owns a 1% share of ByteDance, yet holds one of three seats on the company’s board of directors, giving the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) both control and access to company data and resources.
Speaking at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Wray told his audience how the Chinese might gain control of the app’s recommendation algorithms, potentially manipulating content and influencing people. He also claimed the software could collect personal data and relay it back to the CCP.
Despite repeated assurances from TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas to Senate members that Chinese government officials have no access to US citizens’ data, a June BuzzFeed investigative report found China-based ByteDance employees have accessed TikTok users’ sensitive data “repeatedly.”
Concerns over such behavior prompted former President Donald Trump to ban the popular app in the US in 2020, the order was rescinded by President Joe Biden in 2021 before it could be implemented. In November 2022, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem banned the app from all state-owned devices.
Security issues also inspired an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency cooperative reviewing foreign investments for national security implications.
Based on CFIUS findings, the committee ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in 2020 because of security concerns or withdraw from the US marketplace. Instead, the agency and Tiktok remain in ongoing negotiations to form an agreement to protect user data.
Given the potential risks, would you use TikTok?
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