This past Tuesday, officials with the Federal Communication Commission called on the U.S. government to step in and outright ban TikTok, a popular video-sharing app, in an effort to try and protect the private data of the average American citizen.
As one of the five commissioners for the Federal Communications Commission, Brendan Carr explained to Axios that the federal agency was not able to regulate the massive social media platform and that the data stream making its way back overseas to Beijing and subsequently the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
ByteDance is the massive Chinese tech company that owns TikTok — which currently sports a massive 200 million downloads within the United States — and according to reports from Fox Business, the company is required to share all of its data with members of the CCP upon request, as is required by Chinese law.
“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” expressed Carr, going on to state that there is not “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].”
The U.S. Council for Foreign Investment recently kicked off an investigation against TikTok about whether the app could remove itself from ByteDance and all it to operate freely within the U.S., which preciously was a suggestion from former President Trump while he was in office. This new investigation took off in the wake of China reportedly making plans to utilize the platform to discover and track the locations and movements of various Americans.
Officials with TikTok issued a response to the FCC in a release sent to Axios, confirming that the company remains highly confident that it is currently on a path to finding an agreement for the various national security concerns expressed by the federal government.
“Commissioner Carr has no role in the confidential discussions with the U.S. government related to TikTok and appears to be expressing views independent of his role as an FCC commissioner,” explained a spokesperson for the app to Axios.
A segment of leaked audio which was found by BuzzFeed News back in June highlighted that China had previously already accessed U.S. TikTok user data for months while the employee within the U.S. did not seem to have access to any of that themselves. The discovered audio went over more than 80 internal meetings within the massive social media company that all took place between September 2021 and January 2022.
Prior to leaving office, former President Donald Trump put out an executive order to ban the app within the U.S. back in 2020. This was promptly undone by Biden as he took office and redirected the efforts into a security review for the app.
“This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago,” expressed Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), as reported by Axios. “If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok … the ability for China to have undue influence is a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict.”