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Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee talks TikTok ban on 'The Race'

Scripps News spoke with Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, about TikTok and national security.
Posted at 8:47 PM, Mar 15, 2024

It’s a story you heard a lot of this week: the possible ban of TikTok in the United States.

Scripps News’ Joe St. George sat down with Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to discuss the national security threat from the social media app.

Warner is a supporter of the legislation that would require ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to divest within 6 months or face a ban in the U.S.

St. George asked Warner if he is pushing for a vote in the Senate.

“Absolutely, the fact it got 352 votes in the House, all across the political spectrum, I think it shows the importance of this issue,” Warner said.

Warner also discussed the actual security threat associated with the social media app.

“Chinese law, as of 2017, says any Chinese company, their first obligation is not to shareholders or customers, it is to the Chinese Communist Party,” Warner said.

Warner dived into how the data matters, and how silly videos now could come back to hurt users later.

“You could be, frankly, blackmailed,” Warner said.

“Anyone who doesn’t think that the Communist Party can slightly shift the algorithm that decides which video you see comes up next — if they want, come election time in this country, to say, you know, Taiwan ought to be part of China,” Warner said.

“That is such a national security risk,” Warner said.

Warner said that he would be supportive of Steve Mnunchin, the former Treasury Secretary, forming a group of investors to buy the social media app.