Author and China expert Gordon Chang told Newsmax on Thursday that a U.S. company must buy Chinese video sharing platform TikTok and control its algorithm to counter the current national security risk the app poses.
“There’s so many national security threats from TikTok that I don’t care how many people say, ‘I like those videos,'” Chang said during an appearance on Newsmax‘s “The Record with Greta Van Susteren.” “We can have a mobile video app that is not owned by China and not used by China against the United States.”
Chang argued that even when the company completes “Project Texas,” as TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew mentioned in congressional hearings Thursday, Americans’ user data will still not be protected from the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
“Project Texas is Oracle,” he explained. “They will handle all of the data, and it will not be available in China, the CEO said. But we’ve got to remember that even though that theoretically sounds OK, China is going to come, and they’re going to bribe some employee, or they’re going to get into Oracle’s facility somehow, and so it isn’t safe, and that’s the reason why TikTok has to be sold to a U.S. company and that the U.S. company controls the algorithm.”
“China’s very jealous about the algorithm,” he continued. “Just a few hours ago they said, ‘Well, look, that would be an export control if the company were sold to a U.S. party, and that would have to be approved by Beijing, and Beijing is not going to approve the algorithm sale.”
When asked what kind of user data TikTok is harvesting, Chang said, “It is everything on your phone.”
“This was a really interesting revelation that we heard from these Forbes reporters that China was actually tracking their location,” he said. “These are reporters who were working on a TikTok story. Beijing wanted to know who they were talking to, so they just tracked their phones. They can do all sorts of stuff. They can get everything on your phone. So this is a comprehensive data dump that they are doing.”
Commenting on whether or not Chew lied when discussing the platform with lawmakers, Chang said, “Maybe not today, but in the past, he said that they would never, ever spy for Beijing.”
“Well, they’ve got to,” he said. “First of all, it’s the Communist Party’s top-down system. Communist Party demands absolute loyalty from everybody in China, but it’s also Article seven and 14 of China’s National Intelligence law, which require every Chinese individual, every Chinese national to spy if demanded. TikTok is owned by Bytedance, which is a Chinese entity, which is subject to Communist Party dictates and also the National Intelligence Law.”
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