Sen. Mark Warner says former President Donald Trump was right to crack down on China-owned TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, and urged parents not to let their children download it.
“I think Donald Trump was right. I mean, TikTok is an enormous threat,” Mr. Warner, Virginia Democrat, told Fox News. “If you’re a parent, and you’ve got a kid on TikTok, I would be very, very concerned. All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing.”
President Biden revoked Trump-era bans on TikTok and WeChat apps, which were delayed by court challenges, in January 2021 and ordered his Commerce secretary to investigate privacy risks and ties to foreign adversaries instead.
Washington figures have fretted for years about the app, which people use to share silly dances, skits and other content.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray recently warned Congress about China’s hacking abilities.
Mr. Wray told Congress that dangers include “the possibility that the Chinese government could use [the app] to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose or to control software on millions of devices, which gives the opportunity to potentially tactically compromise personal devices.”
Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr recently suggested that regulators ban the app, although the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) holds greater sway in this case than his own agency.
TikTok has insisted that users’ data is safe, but there have been reports that user data is more accessible to Chinese company employees than American ones, prompting angst among U.S. policymakers.