Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines issued a warning to parents about the risks to children posed by social media app TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked company based in Beijing.
Later, when she was asked by an NBC reporter about whether parents should be concerned by their children using that app, Haines said, “I think you should be.”
Some of the reasons why parents and Americans should be concerned, Haines added, is the Chinese regime's ability to obtain foreign data and “target audiences for information campaigns or for other things, but also to have it for the future so that they can use it for a variety of means that they're interested in.”
TikTok is among the most popular social media platforms in the world and in the United States. It is primarily used by youth, fueling concerns about what messages are being promoted on the app, which is operated by Beijing-based ByteDance.
'Massive Surveillance'Not only Republicans, but a growing number of Democrats have signaled that TikTok is a national security threat.
And it isn't "just the content you upload to TikTok but all the data on your phone, other apps, all your personal information, even facial imagery, even where your eyes are looking on your phone,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) noted in another interview with the network. The app is “one of the most massive surveillance programs ever, especially on America’s young people,” he added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently stated that TikTok is part of the CCP’s strategy to gather data on individuals around the world. What the regime will use the data for, officials say, is not clear.
“We do have national security concerns, obviously from the FBI’s end, about TikTok,” Wray said during testimony to Congress in November. “They include the possibility that the [CCP] could use it to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”
The Epoch Times has contacted TikTok parent ByteDance for comment.
A spokesperson for TikTok told ABC News earlier last month that it “has no role in the confidential discussions with the U.S. government related to TikTok and appears to be expressing views independent of his role as an FCC commissioner.” It was responding to Carr's statement that the app should be blocked in the United States.
“We are confident that we are on a path to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Government that will satisfy all reasonable national security concerns,” the company spokesperson added.