FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called for the U.S. to ban the popular China-based social media app TikTok over concerns about how its parent company handles data from U.S. users.
“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” the commissioner told Axios, adding that there’s no way to develop “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.
A spokesperson for TikTok pushed back on Carr’s comments.
"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 TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter.
"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."
TikTok is currently in negotiations with CFIUS, an interagency committee that conducts national security reviews of foreign companies' deals, to determine whether it can be divested by Chinese parent company ByteDance to an American company and remain operational in the United States.
The New York Times reported in September that a deal was taking shape but not yet in its final form and that Department of Justice official Lisa Monaco was concerned the deal did not provide sufficient insulation from Beijing.
Even Democrats are coming around to the fact that former President Trump was right about TikTok when he tried, unsuccessfully, to get it banned in 2020.
"This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago," Democratic Sen. Mark Warner told The Sydney Morning Herald last week. "If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok … the ability for China to have undue influence is a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict."