Social media platform TikTok — the bane of mine and every parent of a teenager’s existence — whose is owned by ByteDance and under the control of communist China, is reportedly the subject of a criminal investigation. Guess what for? Go ahead. I’ll wait. Ready?
For surveilling U.S. citizens. Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen. What conservatives and members of Congress have been saying for what seems nigh unto eternity about the potential dangers of allowing a social media app owned by company in bed with the Chinese Communist Party has turned out to be 100 percent correct.
According to a new piece from the Daily Wire, the news concerning the investigation comes as lawmakers in the U.S. put out bipartisan legislation earlier in the month that would provide the country with the permission necessary to completely ban the app. Which needs to happen as soon as possible, given that the social media platform is officially a national security risk.
In fact, the risk it poses to our citizens is so immense that the Biden administration actually supports the bill. Let that sink in for a moment. The guy who has likely been profiting off influence peddling to companies in China through his son is saying this is bad news. That probably means the threat TikTok poses is even bigger than we realize.
“Forbes reported that the FBI, Department of Justice Criminal Division, Fraud Section, and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia opened the criminal investigation over TikTok’s spying on American journalists,” the report says.
Prosecutors have sent subpoenas to ByteDance concerning “efforts by its employees to access U.S. journalists’ location information or other private user data using the TikTok app.”
News outlet Forbes was the first to publish a report saying the Beijing-based company was spying on American journalists, later going on to report TikTok actually confessed that it happened.
“TikTok General Counsel Erich Andersen wrote in an internal company email obtained by Forbes that “in this case individuals misused their authority to obtain access to TikTok user data,” the Daily Wire reports.
Jennifer Banks, a spokesperson working for ByteDance, confirmed that the spying did indeed occur.
“We have strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved, and they are no longer employed at ByteDance,” she said. “Our internal investigation is still ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official investigations when brought to us.”
The Biden administration has demanded that ByteDance sell the vertical video app or end up being completely banned here in the U.S.
“The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a board composed of nine cabinet-level officials who weigh the national security implications of international investments, recently ordered ByteDance to sell the platform, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal released on Wednesday. The company vowed to spend $1.5 billion to protect American user data and ensure that Chinese officials could not access the information,” the report continues.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray shocked senators last week when he revealed the intelligence collecting capabilities the app provided the CCP during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
“In response to a line of questioning from ranking member Marco Rubio (R-FL), Wray said that communist China can use TikTok to control data on millions of users, to control the software on millions of devices, and that they can use it to drive narratives to pit Americans against each other,” the Daily Wire reports.
“Wray then warned that not only can China use TikTok to control narratives in the U.S., but also that U.S. officials are ‘not sure that we would see many of the outward signs of it happening if it was happening,'” the report adds.
“And I think the most fundamental piece that cuts across every one of those risks and threats that you mentioned that I think Americans need to understand is that something that’s very sacred in our country, that difference between the private sector and the public sector, that’s a line that is non-existent in the way that CCP operates,” Wray remarked.
Rubio then pointed out the differences in what users based in China see on the TikTok app compared to what U.S. users see.
“For example, in the U.S. kids are being encouraged to choke themselves out, we’ve had kids die,” Rubio said. “In China, they’re encouraged to focus on math and science and building the country.”
Wray, surprisingly, was in agreement with the assessment given by Rubio concerning the “poison” China is pouring into the feeds of users here in the states, which China is using as a means to weaken and damage the country.
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