Brendan Carr, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission who previously raised national security concerns about TikTok, is now calling on the the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) to ban the social media app completely.
“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” Carr told Axios in an article published Tuesday. He stated that there isn’t “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].”
The concern is that TikTok could be used to secretly influence politics in the United States. More than 200 million people in the U.S. have downloaded the app.
The Chinese-owned company is currently in negotiations with CFIUS about parent company ByteDance divesting so that an American company can take over and run the app in the U.S.
“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,” a TikTok spokesperson told Axios in a statement. “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.”
Earlier this year, Carr wrote letters to Apple and Google asking them to remove the video-sharing platform from their app stores. Neither company took his suggestion.
The FCC cannot regulate TikTok directly, but in November 2021, Carr’s warnings about Chinese telecom companies such as Huawei led to Congress passing a bill requiring the FCC to secure telecommunications systems against potential foreign threats to national security.