Warner says possible TikTok sale is “complicated,” and one-year timeline makes sense

Washington — Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the possible sale of TikTok after congressional action is “complicated,” noting that giving any type of transaction up to a full year “makes sense.”

The video-sharing app owned by a China-based company has been under fire by U.S. officials for years amid warnings that China’s government could gain access to its data and use it to manipulate or spy on Americans. But a renewed push targeting TikTok has gained momentum on Capitol Hill in recent months, posing its biggest threat yet.

Warner noted that the app, which has become widely popular among young people in the U.S., could pose a risk to U.S. national security.

“The idea that we would give the Communist Party this much of a propaganda tool, as well as the ability to scrape 170 million Americans’ personal data, it is a national security risk,” Warner said on “Face the Nation,” on Sunday.

Sen. Mark Warner on “Face the Nation,” April 21. 2024. CBS News

The comments came after the House on Saturday approved a bill as part of a foreign aid package that is now headed to the Senate that could force the sale or result in a ban of TikTok in the U.S. Lawmakers voted 360 to 58 in favor of the measure, which also addressed other foreign policy priorities. 

Though the House had already approved legislation that could result in a TikTok ban earlier this year, which outlined a shorter timeline for a forced sale, that bill faced a more treacherous path forward in the Senate. But the upper chamber is expected to take up the long-anticipated foreign aid package that includes the TikTok provisions in the coming days, making it likely the measure will find swifter passage. President Biden has also indicated that he would sign the package.  

Meanwhile, advocates for TikTok have put intense pressure on lawmakers to oppose the legislation that could restrict the app. Warner noted that “there is plenty of creativity” on the app, and “there are people that make their living off of TikTok,” saying he doesn’t want that to go away.

“I simply want to make sure that the individuals pulling the strings are not ultimately functionaries of the Communist Party of China,” he said. 

Original CBS News Link</a