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FBI director takes aim at TikTok again: ‘It screams out with national security concerns’

FBI Director Christopher Wray has again called out social media and streaming platform TikTok as a security concern for the United States.

user icon David Hollingworth
Thu, 09 Mar 2023
FBI director takes aim at TikTok again: ‘It screams out with national security concerns’
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Wray was questioned by a Senate intelligence committee overnight, where he once again voiced his concerns about the Chinese-owned app.

TikTok — which is operated by Chinese company ByteDance, which has close links to the ruling Chinese Communist party — was specifically referred to by Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

The senator asked whether TikTok could be used to sway American opinion on certain matters, especially Taiwan, such as “arguing why Taiwan belongs to China and why the US should not intervene”.

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“Yes, and I would make the point on that last one, in particular, that we’re not sure that we would see many of the outward signs of it happening if it was happening,” Wray answered.

As Wray and others have pointed out in the past, one of the main concerns about TikTok is possible interference from the Chinese government. Politicians both in the US and abroad have concerns that ByteDance may be called upon to share the immense amount of data the app collects from its users.

“I think the most fundamental piece that cuts across every one of those risks and threats that you mentioned, that I think Americans need to understand, is something that’s very sacred in our country: the difference between the private sector and the public sector,” Wray added, according to The Hill.

“That’s a line that is non-existent in the way the CCP operates.”

Senator Rubio concluded his questioning by agreeing with the FBI director’s assessment of TikTok.

“I guess my point is that just to tie it all up, it is a substantial national security threat for the country of a kind that we didn’t face in the past,” Senator Rubio said.

TikTok is facing an increasing amount of bans across the US, at both a federal and state level. At the same time, Canada recently announced a multi-agency investigation into the app’s reach and impact, before banning it on government devices.

According to branding specialists Wallaroo, TikTok currently has been downloaded over 2.6 billion times globally and has over 1 billion active users.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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