US intelligence warns of TikTok’s potential influence on 2024 elections

China could use social media app TikTok to influence the 2024 US elections, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a House of Representatives intelligence committee hearing on Tuesday.

Asked by Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi if China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) would use TikTok to influence the elections, Haines said: “We cannot rule out that the CCP would use it.”

Krishnamoorthi is also the ranking Democrat on the House select committee on China, who along with its Republican chair Mike Gallagher, last week introduced a bill that would give TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance about six months to divest the short video app used by 170 million Americans.

The US House of Representatives is set to vote on Wednesday under fast-track rules that require two-thirds of members to vote “yes” for the measure to win passage.

President Joe Biden said last week he would sign the bill.

The 2024 Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community released on Monday said TikTok accounts run by a Chinese government propaganda arm reportedly targeted candidates from both political parties during the US midterm election cycle in 2022.

TikTok, which says it has not and would not share US user data with the Chinese government, argues the House bill amounts to a ban. It was unclear if China would approve any sale or if TikTok could be divested in six months.

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