Due to continuing fears over potential threats to national security, negotiations between TikTok and the US government have been delayed, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Citing anonymous sources, the report says a deal between the social media company and the Biden administration was originally expected to be reached by the end of the year.
However, there are concerns about how user information is shared and whether the Chinese government influences how TikTok operates in the US. Top of mind are the app's recommendation algorithm, its handling of personal information and hacking issues, per the WSJ. TikTok says it only gathers search history within the app for functional purposes, but some US officials do not want to risk putting all their faith in the company when it comes to data security.
The popular video app is owned by ByteDance, a China-based company. As part of an agreement with the US government, TikTok took steps in June to allay some worries by routing Americans' user data to Oracle cloud servers located in the US. According to the WSJ, the company said only a specially appointed division that manages US data security would have access to user information, with Oracle overseeing security protocols and access. Those outside of that division would have limited access and be subject to stringent rules.
TikTok has long faced scrutiny by US lawmakers and intelligence agencies. FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concerns that the app could be used to control software or the Chinese government could acquire user data and manipulate its use. Some lawmakers want to ban the app altogether due to potential national security risks.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.