FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed “great worry” over China-owned TikTok, warning senators on Tuesday that permitting the Chinese app to continue functioning in the US could pose a national security risk.
According to Bloomberg, Wray told Congress on Tuesday, “Under Chinese law, Chinese enterprises are expected to practically — and I’m using shorthand here — basically do anything that the Chinese govt. wants them to do in terms of providing information or working as a tool of the Chinese government.”
The FBI director, speaking to the House Homeland Security Committee, stressed that this is “enough reason to be exceedingly concerned.”
Wray went on to say that one of his fears is that the Chinese Communist Party may use TikTok to manipulate the information or software of millions of users.
Furthermore, he stated that the app’s recommendation mechanism, which selects which videos TikTok users will be seeing next, “may be exploited for influencing operations if they so desire.”
According to the New York Post, Wray also stated that China has become the most active foreign entity in collecting Americans’ business and personal data.
“China’s enormous hacking operation is the world’s largest, and they’ve stolen more Americans’ corporate and personal data than all the other countries combined,” FBI Director stated.
Since 2019, when the Trump admin’s Committee on International Investment started considering a merger between the app’s main firm, ByteDance, and Musically, TikTok has been under examination by US regulators.
The Chinese app is on the verge of striking an agreement with the Treasury Dept’s Committee on International Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which evaluates national security threats posed by foreign enterprises.
However, even if the US government establishes a security deal to prevent the platform from being blocked, TikTok users risk having their personal data exposed to Chinese hackers and espionage, according to national security experts.
It was claimed last month that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, intended to utilize the app to track the physical whereabouts of specific American citizens.