Chinese Social Media App Seen by White House as Foreign Threat to Security
According to a Dec. 20 story in The New York Times, the U.S. government is scrutinizing China-based TikTok, the wildly popular social media app, because of its home country’s potential to impact national security.
The 5-year-old app has had a broad, viral influence on American culture as users drawn to its content influence culture with everything from creating bestselling authors and being the source of slang and terms like “quiet quitting” to advancing memes and brands. Billions of dollars of advertising has migrated to the app. As nytimes.com story points out:
“Last year, TikTok had more site visits than Google, and more watch minutes in the United States than YouTube. Facebook took almost nine years to reach one billion users; TikTok did it in five.”
The problem is that security advisors are worried that TikTok is vulnerable to “exploitation and manipulation by the Chinese government.” Not only does it have poor data practices and internal safeguards, China-based employees have access to American user data and the app has begun pushing pro-China news and content. Criticism of American policies are part of their propaganda.
The story cites comments from Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the FCC, and Mark Warner, co-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that a ban may soon be coming. Senator Marco Rubio introduced bill that would ban all apps “subject to substantial influence” by China, Russia and foreign enemies. Seven states, including Maryland, Texas, Utah, North Carolina, Alabama and South Dakota, have already banned the app on state devices.
“The sooner we bite the bullet, the better,” said Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, in a Senate committee meeting.
The Biden Administration has been in negotiations with TikTok for additional controls.
read more at nytimes.com
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