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Most Americans think TikTok is a national security threat, poll finds

As some lawmakers consider a national ban on the popular app, a majority of Americans believe TikTok poses a national security threat, a poll finds.
Most Americans think TikTok is a national security threat, poll finds
Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 11, 2023

About 6 in 10 Americans surveyed said they believe TikTok is a major or minor threat to U.S. national security, according to a poll released by Pew Research Center this week. 

The poll found that 29% believe the social media network is a major threat to national security, while 30% say it's a minor threat. Pew said 17% think it's not a threat while about 1 in 4 say they're unsure. 

Even among TikTok users, 42% say they believe the platform is a national security concern. About 65% of non-users also think it is a threat. 

Liberals were four times more likely to say TikTok is not a threat compared to conservatives. 

The poll was conducted in May, around the same time the state of Montana became the first state to plan to ban the app. The state plans to prohibit app stores from making TikTok available starting in January. 

The poll had more than 5,000 respondents and had a margin of error of 1.7%. 

SEE MORE: Clemson is latest university to ban TikTok on campus networks

TikTok reports it has more than 150 million users in the U.S., meaning a potential nationwide ban would affect many Americans. 

The FBI determined that TikTok could be a potential national security concern over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party — ties that TikTok executives say are way overblown. TikTok's parent company, Bytedance, has financial connections to the Chinese Communist Party. 

TikTok CEO Shou Chew told Congress in March that how the app collects data on users is limited. 

"I understand that there are concerns stemming from the inaccurate belief that TikTok’s corporate structure makes it beholden to the Chinese government or that it shares information about U.S. users with the Chinese government," Chew said. "This is emphatically untrue."

Some lawmakers seem unmoved by Chew's comments. 

"TikTok collects nearly every data point imaginable, from people's locations to what they type and copy, who they talk to, biometric data, and more," said Rep. Cathy Anne McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican. "We do not trust TikTok will ever embrace American values — values for freedom, human rights, and innovation. TikTok has repeatedly chosen the path for more control, more surveillance, and more manipulation."

According to OpenSecrets, a nonpartisan platform tracking political spending, TikTok has spent over 10 million dollars in recent years trying to convince lawmakers that TikTok data is safe. 

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