Does TikTok Really Pose a Risk to US National Security?

Does TikTok Really Pose a Risk to US National Security?

  • Concerns about the Chinese government shouldn’t be dismissed, experts say.
  • But banning TikTok would be a drastic measure.

OVER THE PAST few weeks, as relations between the US and China sank to even lower lows, the social media app TikTok has emerged as a new target for the Trump administration. Both secretary of state Mike Pompeo and White House adviser Peter Navarro warned on Fox News that the US was considering outlawing Chinese apps, of which TikTok is the most popular, over security concerns. Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday that there are “a number of administration officials who are looking at the national security risk as it relates to TikTok and other apps,” adding that action may come within weeks, not months.

Concerns about TikTok have also spilled over into the corporate world. Last Friday, Wells Fargo said it had banned its workforce from using TikTok on company devices, an announcement that came after Amazon walked back a similar notice it sent to employees the same day. Meanwhile, on Twitter, venture capitalists, tech journalists, and China watchers have been intensely debating whether or not TikTok—one of several apps created by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance—poses as big a threat as government officials claim.