A high-level member of the US government doesn’t mince words on TikTok.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed concern that the Chinese government could theoretically manipulate TikTok’s recommendation algorithms which can be used “for traditional espionage operations”, according to a Associated Press report. This came during a keynote address at the University of Michigan, where Wray also expressed concerns about the availability of personal data of TikTok users in China.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that does not share our values, and that has a mission that is completely at odds with what is in the best interests of the United States,” Wray said, according to the PA. “That should concern us.”
The abbreviated video social network has been under government scrutiny for some years, largely due to data privacy concerns (particularly in relation to children) and also due to general unease that still exists between the United States and China. The Trump Administration tried unsuccessfully to ban TikTok app stores in 2020. There have also been congressional hearings in 2021 and This yearall related to user data.
And to be fair, TikTok itself confirmed last month that the company’s employees in China have some access to user data, though it insists there are “approval protocols”. in place to ensure it is done correctly and with good reason. Also, in all honesty, it’s not like TikTok is the only social network with data privacy issues. Hiveone of the lifeboats people are jumping on as Twitter sinks, experienced a massive data breach just this week.
Still, based on Wray’s comments, it doesn’t look like the US government’s scrutiny of TikTok is ending anytime soon.