“Nothing’s changed about the national security concerns from the [National Security Council‘s] perspective about the use of TikTok on government devices,” NSC spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday. “That policy’s still in place.”
Kirby described the concerns as related to “the preservation of data and the potential misuse of that data and privacy information by foreign actors,” with the government policy approved by Congress in 2022.
Kirby referred other inquiries to the campaign and to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interfederal government agency panel led by the Treasury Department that examines national security implications of foreign investment in companies and operations. Last year, the committee called for TikTok’s Chinese owners to disinvest or possibly be banned.
Biden has been criticized by the likes of Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) for his campaign’s decision concerning TikTok, contending the United States should “find a way to follow India, which has prohibited TikTok.”
“I’m a little worried about a mixed message,” Warner told Reuters.
The Biden campaign remains adamant it is taking precautions as it tries to meet voters where they are amid the president’s poor polling.
The national security concerns regarding TikTok puts the White House and the Biden campaign in an awkward position considering the application’s popularity.
“The country is experiencing an unprecedented youth mental health crisis,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters last month after TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s appearance before lawmakers. “That’s a fact. That’s what we see in the data. And there is now undeniable evidence, as I just stated, that social media and other online platforms have contributed to that.
“It’s an issue that cuts across … politics and affects red states and blue states,” she said. “You heard from the different congressional members, from Republicans and Democrats, speak to this today very passionately, asking difficult questions. And it’s why this administration has invested historic resources and launched new tools — new tools to ensure the safety of Americans here.”