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Should U.S. government ban TikTok? FCC commissioner thinks so

Concerns include data security for Chinese-owned company. Stocks of Meta, Snap ‘pop’ after FCC commissioner’s remarks

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The TikTok app logo.

In this Sept. 28, 2020 file photo, The TikTok app logo appears in Tokyo.

Kiichiro Sato, Associated Press

Parents frustrated over how much time their children spend watching videos on TikTok might be heartened to know that the Federal Communications Commission is urging the government to ban that particular social media platform.

The issue, however, is serious: national security. And the proposal has given other company stock — think Meta and Snap — a big boost.

Axios reported Tuesday that Brendan Carr, one of five FCC commissioners, told the media site in an interview that the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) should ban TikTok.

The article said that “the popular app is becoming a form of critical information infrastructure — making the app’s ownership by a Chinese parent company a target of growing national security concern.”

Per ABC News, “Buzzfeed reported in June that TikTok engineers based in China gained access to intimate information on U.S. users, such as phone numbers. Forbes reported last month that ByteDance intended to use the app to access information on some users.”

American company?

Axios said that “TikTok is currently in negotiations with CFIUS, an interagency committee that conducts national security reviews of foreign companies’ deals, to determine whether it can be divested by Chinese parent company ByteDance to an American company and remain operational in the United States.”

The New York Times reported in June that Carr has asked Apple and Google to stop making TikTok available in their app stores. He is concerned that the Chinese-owned video app, which is wildly popular among young Americans, could be sending data to Beijing.

The article noted, “Former President Donald J. Trump tried to force ByteDance to sell the app or face expulsion from app stores in 2020. At one point, the Trump administration announced a deal in which Oracle, the American cloud computing company, would have taken over some of the company. The sale never came to fruition.”

Stock ‘pop’

According to CNBC, “Shares of U.S. social media companies Snap and Meta spiked on the news” that Carr suggested a ban. The report Tuesday said Snap shares rose 3.4%, while Meta went up 2.2%.

The article said that “concerns over TikTok’s potential security risks are generally bipartisan. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have expressed concerns and reviewed the company’s relationship with its Chinese owner. TikTok has maintained that it stores U.S. user data outside of China so that it would not have to turn over that information to the government, but U.S. officials have maintained their skepticism.”

TikTok responded that Carr’s comments were his opinion, but he has “no role in the confidential discussions with the U.S. government related to TikTok.”