Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign told staffers to stop using Chinese-linked social media app TikTok over security concerns, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Staffers should “refrain from downloading and using TikTok on work and personal devices,” Biden’s general counsel, Dana Remus, said in an email to campaign employees, Bloomberg reported. The decision comes shortly after the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee warned staff not to use the app, CNN reported on July 11.
United States officials and lawmakers are considering a ban on the growing video-sharing app. TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally from the App Store and Google Play, according to an April 29 report from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, a firm providing mobile application marketing advice.
“We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a July 7 Fox News interview after being asked whether President Donald Trump is making a move against the company. His comments come as national security experts warn that TikTok, Huawei, and other Chinese tech companies pose a potential threat to national security.
“Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security,” Pompeo said, citing telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE. Lawmakers cite China’s national security laws as one reason to be suspicious of the app.
China’s National Intelligence Law gives the government the authority to compel Chinese companies to collect and provide any information the government requests, including data on foreign users, Quartz reported in 2017, when the law was passed. (RELATED: Trump Admin Is Seriously Considering Banning TikTok And Other Chinese Apps, Pompeo Says)
Biden warned in mid-July that China and Russia are interfering in U.S. elections. “We know from before and I guarantee you I know now because now I get briefings again,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said during a July 17 fundraiser. “The Russians are still engaged in trying to delegitimize our electoral process. Fact.”
He added: “China and others are engaged as well in activities that are designed for us to lose confidence in the outcome.”
Chinese and Iranian hackers targeted staff working for Trump’s reelection campaign, as well as those working on behalf of the Biden campaign, according to Shane Huntley, the head of Google’s counterespionage “Threat Analysis Group. He said in June that hacking groups sponsored by their state or nation-states targeted both campaigns, The Wall Street Journal reported in June.
TikTok has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on Biden’s decision, but the app often dismisses claims that it is subject to China.
“TikTok collects much less U.S. user information than many of the companies in our space and stores it in the U.S. and Singapore. We have not, and would not, give it to the Chinese government,” spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn told the DCNF July 21.
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