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Top Democrat Senator: We Fear TikTok Being ‘Used As A Propaganda Channel For The Chinese Communist Party’

On Sunday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) said that top U.S. officials are concerned that the Chinese-government-controlled app TikTok is being used as a “propaganda channel” by the Chinese Community Party and that it could have severe implications in the United States.

Warner made the remarks during an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” with host Margaret Brennan when asked about fighting Chinese influences in the U.S., including their use of artificial intelligence and social media.

Warner explained that it was important for the U.S. to not only focus on TikTok but on “all foreign technology that might pose” a national security threat.

He said that legislation he introduced on the topic needed to move forward because “literally 40 percent of young people get all their news from TikTok.”

“This technology competition, we’ve had military competitors like Russia,” he said. “We’ve never had an economy that’s making the investments the way China is in these new technology domains.”

Warner said he feared TikTok “could be used as a propaganda channel for the CCP, the Communist Party of China.”

“But around artificial intelligence where I think we need to be humble because candidly we’ve done nothing on any guardrails on social media and on technology writ large,” Warner added. “The two areas where artificial intelligence could have an enormous negative effect tomorrow is interfering in our public elections, but it also could have a tool in terms of interfering in our public markets.”

Warner’s comments come shortly after a former employee of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, who had “direct knowledge of TikTok’s operating practices,” revealed that China can easily access U.S. data through ByteDance and TikTok.

The whistleblower alleged, “TikTok and ByteDance employees – including members of the Chinese Communist Party known to be on ByteDance’s payroll – can switch between Chinese and U.S. data with nothing more than the click of a button,” a press release from Sen. Josh Hawley’s office explained. 

“TikTok and ByteDance employees use tools that allow for easy access to U.S. data. Some tools only require approval from a manager and a dataset owner before a China-based employee can access U.S. data,” the whistleblower also alleged, adding, “TikTok coordinates activities with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance. They use the same data analysis tools and chat apps, and managers are in constant contact.”

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