(WASHINGTON) — A commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday called on the U.S. government to ban social media platform TikTok over concerns about how the China-owned app handles the data of American users.
The remarks, made in an interview with Axios, come as the fast-growing app holds ongoing negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, about whether it can continue business in the U.S. if it is sold from Chinese parent company ByteDance to an American company.
Brendan Carr, one of five commissioners of the FCC, called on CFIUS to ban TikTok, citing the company’s alleged inability to secure the data of U.S.-based users.
There is not “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party],” Carr told Axios.
The company told ABC News in a statement that Carr is not involved in negotiations with the U.S. government regarding the app.
“Commissioner Carr has no role in the confidential discussions with the U.S. government related to TikTok and appears to be expressing views independent of his role as an FCC commissioner,” said Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson.
“We are confident that we are on a path to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Government that will satisfy all reasonable national security concerns,” Oberwetter added.
The FCC did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on Carr’s statements.
The Biden administration and TikTok wrote up a preliminary agreement to address national security concerns posed by the app but obstacles remain in the negotiations, the New York Times reported in September.
TikTok says that it stores the data of U.S. users outside of China, and has never removed U.S. posts from the platform at the request of the Chinese government.
Recent news stories have called into question the security of user data.
Buzzfeed reported in June that TikTok engineers based in China gained access to intimate information on U.S. users, such as phone numbers. Forbes reported last month that ByteDance intended to use the app to access information on some users.
The Trump administration tried to ban TikTok in 2020, eventually calling on ByteDance to sell the app to a U.S. company. However, the sale never took place.
The remarks from Carr arrive less than a week before the midterm elections, after which a new Congress may take further steps to ban or limit the app.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.