The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), called the social media site TikTok an “enormous menace.” Additionally, he advised parents to be “extremely cautious” about their children’s app use.
“TikTok is an enormous threat. It’s a threat on two levels. One, it is a massive collector of information, often of our children. They can visualize even down to your keystrokes.” So, if you’re a parent, you got a kid on TikTok. I would be very concerned,” Warner told host Shannon Bream on Sunday.
“All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing,” Warner said, adding that it’s difficult to “separate TikTok from the fact that the actual engineers [are] writing the code in Beijing.”
Since TikTok is controlled by the Chinese corporation ByteDance, its storage and use of user data and its connections to the Chinese government have drawn criticism from lawmakers and others.
According to Warner, “is that TikTok, in a sense, is a broadcasting network” for the Chinese communist party, posing a second-degree threat.
“The China law states that if they suddenly want to dial up the fact that ‘We are going to decrease content that criticizes Chinese leadership but increases the content that your kids may be seeing saying, hey, you know, Taiwan is part of China.’ That is a distribution model that would make RT, Sputnik, or some of the Russian propaganda models pale in comparison,” Warner said.
FBI is ‘Extremely Concerned’ About TikTok
The Trump administration intended to outlaw the social networking site in 2020. But in a move China applauded, the Biden White House replaced Trump’s executive orders last year.
“I think Donald Trump was right,” Warner said on Sunday. The Democrat urged the Federal Trade Commission to look into TikTok’s “apparent deceit” about its data practices earlier this year alongside Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.)
Warner recently told Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, “This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago.”
Christopher Wray, the head of the FBI, expressed “national security concerns” about TikTok’s operations in the United States and cautioned that the Chinese government would use the well-known video-sharing app to influence or take control of American users’ devices.
Just days after Republican lawmakers filed a bill that would outlaw the app statewide, Wray said on Tuesday at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about global threats that the FBI has “a lot of concerns.” NPR reported this.
The Chinese firm ByteDance owns TikTok, which reached 1 billion monthly active users in September 2021.
Foreign and domestic businesses operating in China may be required by national security laws to share their data with the government upon request. China’s ruling Communist Party may use this broad authority to gather sensitive intellectual property, confidential business information, and individual data.
TikTok has long maintained that it does not adhere to Chinese government content filtering regulations and retains user data from American users in the United States.