The FBI has indicated that the social media app TikTok — that has the majority of its U.S.-based users aged 10 to 19 — is a national security risk, a statement agreeing with former President Donald Trump’s warning about the app years ago.
On Friday (December 2), FBI director Christopher Wray warned that the Chinese government can change the algorithm, which he detailed gives them the power to “manipulate content” and possibly “influence operations.”
Wray made the remarks while giving a speech at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
He detailed another threat — the app collecting user data that the Chinese government can access and leverage for traditional espionage operations.
Wray revealed Americans should be concerned because the information is in the hands of the Chinese government that not only doesn’t share U.S. values but ” has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States.”
Friday’s comments aren’t the first time the FBI director shared the warning. He shared a similar warning with lawmakers in November.
He revealed the security risks the app posed after lawmakers asked that he brief them on the app’s function and ability to collect data.
When meeting with lawmakers, he explained that China has a “vast hacking program” that has managed to steal more personal and business data on Americans “than every other nation combined.”
He also noted that TikTok gave the Chinese government access to personal devices, which enables them to “tactically compromise” these devices if they choose.
Wray’s comments also follow a plea by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr that the U.S. ban the app and come two years after Trump threatened to ban the app or force a sale of the app to a U.S. company.