The head of the FBI says the bureau has “national security concerns” about the U.S. operations of TikTok, warning that the Chinese government could potentially use the popular video-sharing app to influence American users or control their devices.
The FBI has “a number of concerns,” director Christopher Wray told a House Homeland Security Committee hearingabout worldwide threats on Tuesday, just days after Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban the appnationwide.
“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,” Wray said.
TikTok, which hit 1 billion monthly active users in September 2021, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Chinese national security laws can compel foreign and domestic firms operating within the country to share their data with the government upon request, and there are concerns about China’s ruling Communist Party using this broad authority to gather sensitive intellectual property, proprietary commercial secrets and personal data.