Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly warned lawmakers and other officials about the rise of popular video app TikTok during trips to Washington, DC, last year. At a private dinner at the White House in October, the tech executive apparently tried to convince President Donald Trump that the threat Chinese internet companies pose to American business should be a bigger concern than reining in Facebook, according to a report Sunday from The Wall Street Journal.
Trump earlier this month issued an executive order that would effectively ban ByteDance-owned TikTok, calling the wide use of such China-based apps a "national emergency." TikTok has drawn the attention of the Trump administration, as well as other parts of the US government, because of concerns that it scoops up information on Americans that could be turned over to the Chinese government.
Rising concerns about TikTok come as the app's popularity has exploded. TikTok previously blasted the threat of a ban, saying it had tried to engage with the US government in good faith for nearly a year. The company is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the original executive order.
In an emailed statement Monday, a Facebook spokesman said that Zuckerberg has never advocated for a ban on TikTok.
Zuckerberg "has repeatedly said publicly that the biggest competitors to US tech companies are Chinese companies, with values that don't align with democratic ideals like free speech," said the Facebook spokesman. "It's ludicrous to suggest that long-standing national security concerns -- raised by policymakers on both sides of the aisle -- have been shaped by Mark's statements alone."
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