Chris Wray, the FBI Director, has raised national security concerns about the popular social media platform TikTok, warning that control of the video sharing app is in the hands of the Chinese government. The FBI Director stated that he was concerned that the Chinese government can control the app’s recommendation algorithm as well as all of the data collected from the application. This means that Chinese authorities could manipulate content and use it to conduct influence operations. The data collected through the app could be used for espionage operations, Wray states.
The main issue is that all of this data and power is in the hands of a government that does “not share our values,” according to Wray. The concerns raised by Wray recently are similar to those he brought up during congressional appearances last month. Additionally, they are being voiced during ongoing political dialogue in Washington. The app is owned by parent company ByteDance. The Trump administration previously threatened to ban the app within the US and pressured ByteDance to sell the application to a US company, however, the sale did not occur.