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House Republicans demand briefing on TikTok security concerns

TikTok is a video-based social media app owned by ByteDance, which is based in Beijing.

Published: January 19, 2024 4:22pm

Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee this week requested that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security hold congressional briefings on the security concerns presented by social media platform TikTok.

TikTok is a video-based social media app owned by ByteDance, which is based in Beijing. The company's relationship with the Chinese Communist Party has long attracted concern. The White House in February of last year ordered the app's removal from almost all official devices in the executive branch.

"TikTok has more than 150 million users in the United States. The FBI and other U.S. national security agencies have raised alarms about the potential that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) could use TikTok for nefarious purposes," wrote Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, in writing to FBI Director Christopher Wray and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The lawmakers first shared the letter with Fox News.

"The concerns associated with the proliferation of TikTok are real and growing. DHS, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Department of Defense have banned the use of TikTok on official mobile devices due to security concerns," they added. "Bans on the use of TikTok are not limited to the United States, as many other countries have imposed various levels of prohibitions as well, due to security and privacy concerns. Over half of the 50 U.S. States have banned TikTok from official government devices."

They further pointed to an ongoing review of the app by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) in the United States and sought information related to the roles of both the FBI and DHS in the review.

"In light of these developments, a lack of details about DHS and the FBI’s role in the CFIUS review of TikTok, and to better understand your Departments’ overall efforts to address the PRC’s espionage activities against the United States within the homeland, we ask that you arrange for a briefing to the Committee," they concluded.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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