FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr Doubles Down on Banning TikTok: ‘Digital Fentanyl’

“It operates as a very sophisticated surveillance app,” Carr told Fox News’ Dana Perino

Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner
Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner (Fox News Channel)

FCC commissioner Brendan Carr is doubling down on his call for the U.S. government to ban Beijing-based TikTok, describing the popular social media app as “digital fentanyl.”

“At the end of the day, TikTok is China’s digital fentanyl,” Carr said Friday in an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“A lot of people look at TikTok and they think it’s just a fun application for sharing dance videos or other funny videos. But that’s just the sheep’s clothing. Underneath all of it, it operates as a very sophisticated surveillance app. Again, it’s not the videos, but it’s pulling everything from search and browsing history, potentially keystroke patterns, biometrics, including face prints and voice prints.”

While TikTok officials have insisted that none of this information makes its way to China, where TikTok is based, a bombshell NPR news story this summer alleged that, according to internal communication from the company, personal data of U.S. users is being seen by the Chinese government.

“That’s a big risk for four or five different reasons, including espionage and other activity. And, really, every week, there’s a new shoe that drops in this store. There’s another report that officials in ByteDance, the parent in Beijing, are attempting to surveil the location of specific Americans through this application,” Carr told host Dana Perino.

Carr also discussed a clip from “60 Minutes,” in which Tristan Harris, co-founder of the Center For Humane Technology, explained that the global version of the app is very different from the one used in China.

“I don’t see a path forward technically where we can assure ourselves that the data isn’t going to flow back to China and, similarly, that they’re not going to use the algorithm for foreign influence campaigns here,” he said.

Asked when he thinks the ban should be implemented, Carr replied that “within the next few weeks,” he expects to see a final decision from the Treasury Department. “The number two at DOJ [the Department of Justice] reportedly has said that she does not believe that the preliminary deal that’s in place right now is tough enough on China. And I think she’s probably right,” he said.

Watch the whole segment here.