FBI director claims if China invades Taiwan TikTok could be its valuable tool

On Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control data on millions of people and harness the app to shape public opinion should China decide to invade Taiwan. Ranking member Sen. Marco Rubio asked a series of questions on whether TikTok would allow Beijing widespread control over data and a valuable influence tool in the event of war in Taiwan which Wray affirmed. Wray’s response to Rubio during the hearing was “the most fundamental piece that cuts across every one of those risks and threats that you mentioned that I think Americans need to understand is that something that’s very sacred in our country —the difference between the private sector and public sector — that’s a line that is nonexistent in the way that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] operates.” Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate panel, also argued TikTok presents “a substantial national security threat for the country of a kind that we didn’t face in the past.” Previously, TikTok’s CEO Shou Chew stated this week that the Chinese government has “never asked us for US user data” and if the government were to ask, the company wouldn’t provide it. The company has also taken voluntary steps to wall off US user data from the rest of its global organization, including hosting the data in the US on Oracle servers. The company is also currently negotiating a possible agreement with the Biden administration to allow TikTok to continue operating in the US under certain conditions. In a statement this week, a TikTok spokesperson said that a US government ban would be “a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide.”

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