Jul 15, 2020

Steve Weber Says Geopolitical Tensions to Blame for Rising Fear in TikTok Security

From Yahoo Finance

Is TikTok a security threat? It’s complicated.

By Daniel Howley

TikTok is one of the hottest apps on the planet among teens and social media addicts. But the app, owned by China’s ByteDance, is under ever-increasing scrutiny from U.S. government officials, including President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who are threatening to ban it, claiming the app is a national security threat.

According to researchers, however, the fear of TikTok being used for some form of espionage is directly tied to the growing geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. It’s not that the app collects any more information than contemporaries like Facebook, experts say, but rather that TikTok has ties to China.

“I Think TikTok has been doing a lot of things very, very, very quickly to try to establish that it’s safe for Americans to use,” explained U.C. Berkeley professor Steven Weber, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Long Term Cybersecurity. “In this political environment between the United States and China, you’re guilty until proven innocent if you’re a Chinese company.”


Steven Weber is the Associate Dean and Head of School, School of Information; Faculty Director, Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity; and Professor (I School and Dept. of Political Science). His research focus is in international politics, international business, and the information economy; cybersecurity; and behavioral economics within information systems.

Last updated:

July 17, 2020