According to Chris Wray, the Chinese government could potentially use the platform to influence American users or control their devices.
“[Concerns] include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it 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, which gives it an opportunity to potentially technically compromise personal devices,” Wray said.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Chinese national security laws can compel foreign and domestic firms operating within the country to share their data with the government upon request, and there are concerns about China’s Communist Party using this broad authority to gather sensitive intellectual property, proprietary commercial secrets and personal data.
What Is Being Done?
Several lawmakers are pushing for a TikTok ban.
In October, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said that the app posed privacy and security concerns to Americans. A week later, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr called on the government to ban TikTok in an Axios interview. Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mike Gallagher introduced legislation that they said would ban TikTok “and other social media companies that are effectively controlled by the CCP from operating in the United States.”
When asked about what action the U.S. is taking, Wray said that the FBI’s foreign investment unit is involved in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process.
“Our input would be taken into account in any agreements that might be made to address the issue,” he added.
Many beauty brands continue to be very active on TikTok.
“TikTok commands so much attention from teen beauty fans, brands getting it right on the platform can gain serious followers and spend,” says Elle Morris, SVP, Global Strategy at Marks.