TIKTOK poses a bigger threat to America’s national security than the recently unveiled B21 stealth bomber, a former US Air Force officer has warned.
Brigadier General Robert Spalding III (Ret.) exclusively claimed in an interview with The US Sun that the popular social media app acts like a “drug” on young people and can be used to influence users’ emotions.
At least 100 million people in the US use TikTok, but Spalding called the app a “more powerful” tool than the B-21.
The B-21 is the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft built using a digital ecosystem.
The aircraft will form the backbone of the US airborne nuclear weapons fleet in the future and is designed to survive after hitting even the most heavily defended targets.
The futuristic jet will be capable of performing unmanned missions, with pilots flying it remotely from the United States.
However, Spalding believes the social media app poses more of a threat to American interests than a stealth bomber. TikTok denies the claims.
He’s not the only high-profile figure to raise concerns amid fears the app can be used to spy on citizens and censor content.
FBI Director Christopher Wray claimed that Chinese government officials could use the tool to “influence users or control their devices.”
Spalding said: “In China, TikTok, known as Doyian, is used to invoke nationalist sentiment.
“Whereas in the US, the app is primarily used for frivolous pursuits.”
He claimed the app was like a “drug” for teenagers.
“TikTok is essentially a very powerful weapon — much more powerful than the newly unveiled B21 bomber,” Spalding claimed.
TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have stressed that the Chinese government has no control or influence over the app.
Bosses have also denied that data is being collected.
And Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s chief operating officer, testified before Congress in September 2022, saying that no person “making a strategic decision on this platform” is a member of the CCP.
It comes after Republican lawmakers Marco Rubio and Mike Gallagher penned a Washington Post op-ed in November arguing there should be a blanket ban on TikTok in the US.
The politicians called the app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, “spyware” and claimed it could track cell phone locations and retrieve internet browsing data.
They claimed, “That TikTok, and by extension the CCP, is able to monitor every keystroke teens type on their phones is troubling.”
Rubio and Gallagher feared Beijing officials could use TikTok to get hold of sensitive national security data – claims that have been disputed.
They also claimed that profiles could be curated and used for blackmail or espionage.
dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, revealed that China is one of the few issues that can unite Democrats and Republicans.
He said, “Republicans are very, and perhaps more, concerned about China than Democrats, but there is a real consensus.”
It seems there is bipartisan support for banning TikTok in the US.
Laws were announced that would block the activities of social media companies “in or under the influence” of foreign powers, including Russia and China.
The US Senate passed legislation that would bar federal employees from using the app on state-owned devices.
But it still needs to pass the House of Representatives and be approved by Biden before it becomes law.
Democratic politician Raja Krishnamoorthi, who serves in Illinois’ 8th congressional district, stressed that it is “imperative” that hostile powers cannot control social media.
He feared that if nothing were done, apps could be “easily weaponized” against Americans.
He said, “Recent revelations about the depth of TikTok’s ties to the CCP underscore the urgency of protecting Americans from these risks before it’s too late.”
A TikTok spokesman told The US Sun: “It is worrying that some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically motivated ban rather than encourage the government to complete its national security review of TikTok, which does nothing to promote national security.” Security will contribute from the United States.
“TikTok is loved by millions of Americans who use the platform to learn, grow their business and connect with creative content they enjoy.
“We will continue to update members of Congress on the plans being developed under the oversight of our nation’s leading national security agencies — plans that we are in full swing to implement — to further secure our platform in the United States.”
This week, officials in Alabama and Utah banned the app from state devices and networks.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said, “Disturbingly, TikTok collects vast amounts of data, much of which has no legitimate connection to the app’s purported purpose of video sharing.”
Ivey warned that this creates a “vulnerability” for Chinese operations.
And New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has blocked the app from the devices of most state employees.
A TikTok spokesman hit back, saying, “We are disappointed that so many states are jumping on the bandwagon to enact policies based on baseless, politically charged untruths about TikTok.
The latest attempts by lawmakers come years after former President Donald Trump tried to ban the app over fears of national security.
But each proposed ban was dropped by Biden in 2021.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6914310/tiktok-more-powerful-weapon-stealth-bomber-china/ TikTok is a more powerful weapon than a stealth bomber and a major threat to American interests, experts claim