FCC commissioner says TikTok is a ‘clear and present danger’ to US national security

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner claimed that TikTok poses a “serious threat” to U.S. national security that is distinct from other social media companies.

“TikTok presents a clear and present danger to U.S. national security that is categorically different than any other social media company out there. I’ve got my fair share of concerns with other big tech companies, but TikTok’s different,” Brendan Carr said Tuesday during an appearance on “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”

Carr claimed that users’ browsing history, keystroke patterns, biometrics, location data and more sensitive data is being accessed in Beijing for “nefarious purposes.”

The commissioner said that the version of TikTok available in China differs significantly from the U.S. version, describing it as a “concerning application” from both an “espionage perspective” and a “foreign influence point of view.”

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For example, one study showed that young female users were fed content that could lead to self-harm and eating disorders shortly after setting up an account.

National security officials are holding a classified briefing on a TikTok bill Tuesday. The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act would require that TikTok be divested from ByteDance or other China-based companies within 180 days or else it would be banned from U.S. app stores and web hosting services.

The impending floor vote comes after the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to pass the bill, which President Biden has indicated he will sign into law.

Carr claimed that if TikTok is “beholden” to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), there is no way to be sure the company is well-intentioned enough to stop bad actors from getting U.S. user data.

“This bill will definitively resolve the serious national security threat from TikTok by requiring them to divest. We do that on occasion with other applications. We’ve done it successfully. So the actual technical implication of implementation of it is less of a problem than getting this policy cut right,” Carr said.

He also claimed the bill was “smart” and “targeted” legislation.

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TikTok ByteDance China

Some politicians have expressed concern about the bill, with Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., calling it a “Trojan horse.”

The bill, which the select committee says had 18 bipartisan cosponsors at the time of its introduction, would be enforced against tech companies that operate app stores or provide web hosting services rather than individual users of apps like TikTok.

The bill’s language classifies the term “foreign adversary controlled application” as a website, desktop application, mobile application, or augmented or immersive technology application that is operated directly or indirectly by a foreign nation.

Carr, attempting to assuage concerns about the bill, claimed the legislation does not present a First Amendment issue as long as it focuses on TikTok’s “conduct” and looks to the future of national security threats.

A TikTok spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement, “This bill is an outright ban of TikTok, no matter how much the authors try to disguise it. This legislation will trample the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and deprive 5 million small businesses of a platform they rely on to grow and create jobs.”

The company has previously denied that its parent company shares user data with the CCP.

FOX Business’ Eric Revell contributed to this report. 



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