US Senators receive disturbing TikTok spy briefing

US Senators receive disturbing TikTok spy briefing

On Wednesday (Mar 20), US Senators received a disturbing briefing about TikTok from the FBI, Justice Department and the Director of National Intelligence office.

As the Senate prepares to vote on a bill that could see TikTok banned, senators tell Axios that a classified briefing exposed some “shocking” details about the app’s Chinese links and capabilities.

According to one Senator, national security officials detailed how China could not only harvest and track Americans’ data, but also weaponize it through misinformation and propaganda. Another told the outlet of claims that TikTok could spy on users’ microphones, track keystrokes and otherwise “determine” what users were doing on other apps.

TikTok’s ability to spy is shocking

According to Senator Richard Blumenthal, the briefing’s “level of detail and specificity was extremely impactful,” while Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted that the briefing was useful in “bringing some members up to date with the threats that China poses through TikTok.” Senator Eric Schmitt simply added: “Their ability to track, their ability to spy is shocking.”

However, despite these concerns, Axios report that there is little chance of the bill being fast-tracked. On March 21, Senator Mark Warner, chair of the Intelligence Committee, said that the bill would take longer than hoped because that’s “just the way the Senate works.”

But as TikTok’s much-debated ban seems all the more likely, both China and the app are biting back. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin describes the behavior as “bullying,” arguing that “this kind of bullying behavior that cannot win in fair competition disrupts companies’ normal business activity, damages the confidence of international investors in the investment environment, and damages the normal international economic and trade order.”

Meanwhile, TikTok said in a statement that “we are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.”

Featured image: ideogram

The post “US Senators receive disturbing TikTok spy briefing” by Charlotte Colombo was published on 03/22/2024 by