TikTok can be used by the Chinese regime as an “aggressive weapon”, the FBI warned

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The director of that federal agency, Christopher Wray, said the office has serious national security concerns about the popular app

TikTok may be used by the Chinese regime as a “weapon of aggression,” the FBI warned

The FBI warned of the dangers of using TikTok and called for regulations to prevent manipulation by the Chinese regime (Reuters)

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the federal institution has serious national security concerns about Chinese-owned video app TikTok and is conveying its opinion to regulators who are evaluating an agreement that would allow it to continue operating in the United States.

Wray told lawmakers that China's autocratic regime could use the app to control the data or software of millions of users, and its recommendation algorithm – which determines what videos users watch next – ” could be used for influence operations if they wish”.

Under Chinese law, companies are basically required to do whatever the Chinese government wants them to do in terms of sharing information or serving as a tool of the Chinese government,” said Wray to the House Homeland Security Committee. “That is reason enough in itself to be extremely concerned.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has relayed its concerns to the Investment Committee Foreign Affairs of the US, the government agency that is reviewing the agreement.

TikTok may be used by the Chinese regime as a “weapon of aggression,” the FBI warned

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid testify before a Committee hearing House Homeland Security Committee on “Global Threats to the Homeland” on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, on November 15, 2022 (Reuters)

The Biden Administration is considering a proposal to allow TikTok continue to operate in the United States under the ownership of Chinese parent Byte Dance Ltd. The deal would include routing US user traffic through servers maintained by Oracle Corp., which would also audit the application's algorithms.

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Wray has offered to give lawmakers a classified briefing on the FBI's concerns about the platform and the potential deal. He said the foreign investment unit of the FBI is providing information about the potential settlement through the Cfius process and that it is his hope that his concerns will be taken into account in any settlement.

Wray said the < b>The FBI is concerned about the threat specifically from the Chinese government, saying its laws are being used as “an aggressive weapon” against US and Chinese companies “to do what the Chinese government wants them to do”.

A spokesperson for TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two influential Republican lawmakers wrote in a column in The Washington Post last week that TikTok should be banned entirely in the United States< /b>. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher said they planned to introduce legislation to ban the platform along with other “that are effectively controlled by the CCP.”

Wray offered to give lawmakers a classified briefing on the FBI's concerns about the platform and the possible agreement. He said the office's foreign investment unit is providing information about the potential deal through the CFIUS process and that he hopes his concerns will be taken into account in any deal.

The < b>The Department of Justice, which oversees US counterintelligence operations, has long harbored concerns about the app. The department's No. 2, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, has privately expressed concern that the deal crafted by the Biden administration won't go far enough to keep American user data safe from Chinese actors, as reported by Bloomberg.

(With information from Bloomberg).-