TikTok has spent $1.5 billion to appease the U.S. government’s national security concerns, according to an exclusive report from Reuters.
The three-year effort was revealed after two dozen states banned the popular video-sharing app from government-issued devices.
“We are not waiting for an agreement to be in place,” a spokeswoman from TikTok told the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve made substantial progress on implementing that solution over the past year and look forward to completing that work to put these concerns to rest.”
The Reuters report explained that TikTok’s efforts are related to convincing government agencies that the personal data of Americans cannot be accessed or used by China’s communist government. ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is based in China where government leaders have control over corporations.
FBI Director Christopher Wray noted TikTok’s security concerns during a December speech at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values, and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States. That should concern us,” Wray said.
TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps in the U.S., with more than 100 million users. Despite TikTok’s popularity, it has been banned on government devices in more than 20 states.
READ MORE: Kansas bans TikTok on state devices
The app was also banned on devices issued by the federal government as part of the $1.7 trillion spending passed in December. The “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” was introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in the Senate.
“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices,” Hawley said in a statement in December. “States across the U.S. are banning TikTok on government devices. It’s time for Joe Biden and the Democrats to help do the same.”
Two members of the House of Representatives also recently urged ESPN to drop TikTok after it sponsored halftime shows during recent college football bowl games broadcast on the sports television network.
Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) sent a letter to ESPN CEO James Pitaro earlier this month.
“The U.S. government considers TikTok a national security threat because it is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is subject to the direction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” the House members wrote.