Recently, the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, has said that his agency is “extremely concerned” about the activities of the company that owns TikTok (the Chinese social network) in the United States.
Ray said his nervousness is due to the possibility that some Chinese government entity has the ability to manipulate the algorithms that generate the recommendations users see in the app, which will allow to manipulate the content that appears on the social network,
At the University of Michigan Gerald R. Within the framework of a conference presented at the Ford School of Public Policy, the FBI director stressed that there is a persistent risk that the popular social platform will fall under the control of the Chinese government, for which its vision and interests differ from those of North American society. Is.
So the Chinese government can manipulate the social platform’s algorithm and use it as a resource, according to Ray, to “influence operations if they want to.”
It should be noted that TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is a platform that has already gained significant popularity thanks to its short video format and in the United States. It has over 100 million users, so it represents a threat to Instagram as well (Meta’s social network).
For precisely this reason, Christopher Wray’s views have been complicated by the skepticism of other United States government officials, who consider the fact that Xi Jinping’s government has access to information about users of the social network as a potential threat. likely to collect.
Similarly, Christopher Ray argues that there is also a risk that Chinese government entities use social networks to infiltrate software on their users’ devices and Extract information from the personal devices of millions of people in the United States.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that does not share our values and that has a mission that is in the best interests of the United States of America. That should worry us,” Ray warned.
It is worth remembering that months ago, TikTok’s Director of Operations Vanessa Pappas attended a hearing before the United States Senate where she answered questions from Democratic and Republican lawmakers. In this scenario, Pappas assures that ByteDance has a Strict system to protect the data of US users And so Chinese government officials are unlikely to have access to them.
Pappas said at the time, “We will never share data, period.”
TikTok is a continuing concern for the US
In 2017, the social network began to grow significantly in popularity due to ByteDance’s acquisition of the American company Musical.ly and its collaboration with TikTok.
Years later, the Donald Trump administration objected to the operation and the Chinese company through its social networks and therefore tried to ban the application in the United States, ByteDance was being pressured to sell the platform to a North American company,
The actions of former President Trump’s government were accompanied by a series of complaints against the social network’s owner for alleged privacy violations against underage users in Europe and other parts of the world.
But ByteDance handled these controversies, indicating that its platform has continuously improved its service to protect the privacy of all its users, in addition, it assured that TikTok does not operate within China and a similar application that is specific to that country operates in that country.,
US officials and the company are now in talks about a possible deal that would address US security concerns, a process that Ray said was taking place across all US government agencies.
Despite the movements made by the Asian-origin social network to show that there is a distance between it and the current Chinese government, officials of US national security agencies still have serious doubts about the digital platform, for which they are demanding more force. charge more because of its continuous growth in user base.