The FBI Is “extremely Worried” About How China Could Use TikTok To Influence U.S. Users

Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, expressed his “grave worry” about TikTok’s operations in the United States to senators on Tuesday.

In a hearing regarding global threats, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated, “We do have national security concerns about TikTok, at least from the FBI’s end.” “Among them is the potential for the Chinese government to utilize it to regulate the gathering of data on millions of people. Or manage the recommendation algorithm, which they may employ to carry out influence operations. Alternatively, it may use millions of devices to operate software, giving it the chance to technically breach personal devices.

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Wray’s comments add to those made by other government officials and members of Congress who have already voiced their serious doubts regarding the capability of the Chinese-owned video platform to shield user information from an antagonistic government. TikTok has insisted that it does not keep data on American users in China, where the law permits the government to compel businesses to turn over internal data.

Law by itself is “enough of grounds by itself to be highly concerned,” according to Wray. The FBI’s suggestions are being taken into account as part of ongoing conversations with the U.S. Government, as Director Wray stated in his remarks, according to a statement from a TikTok representative.

“We are optimistic that we are on a path to fully satisfy any reasonable U.S. national security concerns,” the statement reads. “We can’t comment on the specifics of those classified negotiations, though.”

However, news from Forbes has raised concerns about the security of user data at TikTok from Americans. According to information it analyzed, the outlet claimed, for instance, that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance intended to utilize the app to track particular location information of a select group of American people.

In response, TikTok attacked Forbes for releasing the allegations and denied ever tracking specific American residents with their precise whereabouts.

Any information on TikTok’s actions would need to be included in a classified briefing, according to Wray. He did, however, reassure the lawmakers that “we share your worries” and that “it is clearly something that is on our radar.”

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According to The New York Times, the Biden administration and the firm are apparently close to an agreement that would allow the company to continue operating in the United States under stricter security controls. According to Wray, the Department of Justice and the FBI’s foreign investment branch are collaborating to find a workable solution as part of the foreign investment review procedure. He stated that “any agreements reached to resolve the issue” will “take into account the FBI’s input.”

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