FBI Director Chris Wray said Tuesday that the organization has “national security concerns” about the usage of TikTok in the U.S., during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about worldwide threats, Reuters reported.

Key details: According to Wray, potential threats from TikTok “include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users,” Wray said, per CNBC. “Or control (TikTok’s) recommendation algorithm, which could be used to influence operations if they so chose. Or to control software on millions of devices which gives it opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices.”

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The bigger picture: Concern over TikTok from U.S. lawmakers isn’t new. In 2020, former President Donald Trump attempted to ban the usage of the app in the U.S., a move that was paused by President Joe Biden in 2021, per NPR.

Tiktok responds: NPR reported that in June of this year, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, released a letter to U.S. lawmakers stating that the app stores its U.S. user data within the U.S. and “does not comply with Chinese government moderation requirements.”

  • However, in July, the company acknowledged that U.S. user data was in fact, accessible to Chinese employees, per CNBC.

Worth noting: “Under Chinese law, Chinese companies are required to — and I’m going to shorthand here — basically do what the Chinese government wants them to do, in terms of sharing information or serving as a tool of the Chinese government,” Wray said, according to VOA. “And so, that’s plenty of reason by itself to be concerned.”

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