In 2020, President Trump wanted to ban TikTok over national security concerns with the Chinese-owned app. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump said.
Trump’s efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. After taking office, Joe Biden took a different approach and actively embraced the controversial app by recruiting TikTok influencers to help advance his agenda. Last year, celebrity TikTok-ers were brought in to help his COVID-19 vaccination push, and this week he invited transgender activist and TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney to the White House.
Despite Biden’s embrace of the platform, the security risks posed by the app remain. While on a trip to Australia, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) admitted that former President Donald Trump was right to warn about the ties between the Chinese Communist Party and the social media platform TikTok.
“This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago,” Warner said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok, if your population uses WeChat as a social media platform, the ability for China to have undue influence is, I think, a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict,” Warner continued. “China having this kind of technology domination in a number of countries ought to scare the heck out of us because we’ve seen the kind of Orwellian surveillance state they’ve already created within China.”
The Biden administration is reportedly negotiating to keep TikTok in the United States, but it wants to ensure that data from American users is kept separate from data from other countries in order to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from gaining access to it. Sen. Warner is skeptical about this plan, saying that TikTok has “a big mountain to climb with me to prove the case that it can really be safe.”