Former Trump official says TikTok ‘disguised as candy’ but is ‘cocaine’

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

A former Trump administration official said TikTok is “disguised as candy” but is actually “cocaine” as pressure has ramped up to ban the app in the country. 

Keith Krach, who served as undersecretary of State for economic growth, energy and the environment, said in an interview on “Meet the Press NOW” on Tuesday that concern about TikTok is a “bipartisan issue.” 

“The way TikTok is programmed, it preys on children,” he said. “It’s disguised as candy, and it’s actually cocaine. And I think this is coming out everywhere.” 

Krach’s comments come as TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to testify before Congress on Thursday about security concerns with the app. Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have said they are worried about the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Critics argue it poses a security threat to U.S. citizens and potentially exposes their data to the Chinese government. 

TikTok has insisted it has practices in place to ensure user data is protected. 

Krach said the large number of U.S. users of the app creates more of a reason for the federal government to ban the app. 

The Biden administration threatened to ban the app last week if ByteDance did not divest from it. The app has already been banned on devices owned by the federal government and more than two dozen state governments. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that China does not have clear distinctions between the public and private sectors, meaning the government could require ByteDance to comply with requests to provide data it has from TikTok. 

The TikTok CEO told The Wall Street Journal last week that the app separating itself from ByteDance would not fix security concerns. 

Krach said the concerns about security on TikTok are not just about an individual user of the app but everyone who they interact with digitally. 

“In essence, what it is, it’s a digital virus, and that TikTok virus, the only cure for that, the only vaccine for that is really a total ban,” he said. 

A bipartisan group of senators introduced the RESTRICT Act earlier this month to give the Commerce Department the authority to regulate or ban technology that is tied to foreign adversaries, which would include TikTok. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) introduced a bill in January to ban TikTok from being downloaded on all U.S. devices.

Tags ByteDance Christopher Wray data security Shou Zi Chew TikTok

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