FBI Director Warns Against TikTok as National Security Threat, Report Says

Christopher Wray voices concerns over a proposed deal to allow the continued operation of the Chinese-owned app in the US.

David Anders Senior Writer
David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
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While Twitter is in turmoil, another popular social media app, TikTok, continues to receive its share of criticism, most recently from FBI Director Christopher Wray.

According to a Bloomberg report, Wray on Tuesday voiced his concerns over the social media app and its potential threat to national security to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is overseeing a proposed deal to allow TikTok to continue operating in the US.

The FBI director reportedly warned the committee that the Chinese-owned app could be used "to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices."

Wray's reported statements echo the sentiments of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who recently commented that "at its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data."

It's unclear if or when an outright ban of TikTok would go into effect, or whether the proposed deal to allow continued operation in the US will be approved. 

"The FBI's input is being considered as part of our ongoing negotiations with the US government," a TikTok spokesperson said. "While we can't comment on the specifics of those confidential discussions, we are confident that we are on a path to fully satisfy all reasonable US national security concerns."

The FBI didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.