Regulators and lawmakers have been struggling for months to make sense of cybersecurity concerns about TikTok, Axios reported.
But experts in technology also are struggling to determine which concerns are overhyped, and which are valid.
TikTok is the most popular social media platform. It reached 1 billion monthly active users in just five years. That is a skyrocketing rise far more quickly than most U.S. social media apps, adding more urgency to officials’ attempts to regulate the app.
Pew Research estimates that about a quarter of U.S. adults under the age of 30 now get their news on TikTok.
But how dangerous is it? Some view security concerns as being out-of-touch or overzealous concerns.
Navigating TikTok’s cybersecurity concerns hasn’t been easy for anyone involved — even security officials.
For three years, the federal government has been struggling to figure out whether security concerns about TikTok make it too dangerous to operate in the country. They have also been working to figure out if there’s a way to protect U.S. user data, NBC News reports.
Some experts say the reality is that if the Chinese government wants to spy on the U.S., it wouldn’t need TikTok to do it.
Chinese state-sponsored hackers exploited flaws in Microsoft Exchange servers, affecting 30,000 U.S. organizations, just two years ago.
The recent news cycle around the Chinese surveillance balloon drifting across U.S. airspace is just the latest example.
And now Republicans are using the Chinese spy balloon to attack the TikTok app.
Critics of the viral video app in Congress are using the balloon as a rallying point, highlighting the security concerns percolating around both the app and the balloon.
GOP skeptics of TikTok are trying to connect the two, grabbing onto the balloon as a convenient symbol of the security concerns that have floated around the app and threatened its survival in the U.S. in recent months.