Reddit CEO Steve Huffman calls TikTok 'spyware'

Executive tells people not to install the app because of security concerns

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman called popular Chinese mobile video app TikTok "spyware" at a Thursday conference before Silicon Valley investors.

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Huffman's comments come as TikTok has faced increasing safety concerns and skepticism from U.S. lawmakers because of its ties to the Chinese government and reports that terrorists had been posting propaganda videos on their TikTok profiles.

"Maybe I’m going to regret this, but I can’t even get to that level of thinking with them," Huffman said during the panel at the one-day conference called "Social 2030." "I look at that app as so fundamentally parasitic — that it’s always listening. The fingerprinting technology they use is truly terrifying, and I could not bring myself to install an app like that on my phone," he said, adding later that he "actively" tells people: 'Don’t install that spyware on your phone.' "

(Chesnot/Getty Images)

WHAT IS TIKTOK?

A 2017 Chinese law introduced by President Xi Jinping states that "any organization and citizen" shall "support and cooperate in national intelligence work," according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Huffman is not alone in his sentiments.

TIKTOK BANNED BY NAVY AMID GROWING DATA AND PRIVACY CONCERNS

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., called TikTok "China's best detective," and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., explained why lawmakers are worried about the app.

"Here's the problem: it's owned by a Chinese company, and under Chinese law, that means the Communist Party has access to all of the data that TikTok scoops up," the Missouri senator said in December. "And it scoops up a lot, like your phone book, like what you do on your phone, it tracks you around the web, maybe your text messages. It's dangerous."

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ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has tried to minimize attention on its China connections after lawmakers of both parties asked the intelligence community to examine the national security risks. The company released a TikTok "transparency report" on Dec. 30.

"The Chinese government has never asked us to provide access to any TikTok U.S. user data, and we would not do so if asked," a ByteDance spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.

TikTok has global offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul and Tokyo, according to its website.

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This report contains material from a previous FOX Business article.