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TikTok is an app 'built to be weaponized': Former Trump official

Lawmakers are driving forward possible legislation restricting or banning TikTok over fears the social media app could be weaponized.

"This app preys on children," Keith Krach, chairman of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue, tells Yahoo! Finance. Krach, who served as former under secretary of state in the Trump administration, says the app monitors private information like bank records and location data.

The app, which is ultimately owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has also seen criticism for allegations of censorship, access of U.S. user data, and propaganda concerns. TikTok's ownership has made it a long-running target by the U.S. government, with the Trump Administration saying in 2020 it would ban the app.

TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified before Congress today in the hopes of addressing some of these concerns. The executive said TikTok pledged commitments in four key areas: it would keep teenager safety a top priority, prevent unauthorized foreign access of U.S. user data, commit to free expression, and will be transparent and give access to monitors.

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Critics say the commitments do not go far enough.

"This app is built to be weaponized," says Keith Krach, chairman of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue. "It is built to be addicting. It's disguised as candy, but it's really cocaine."

Above, Yahoo! Finance's Jared Blikre spoke to Krach. Watch the full interview here. Key video moments:

00:00:23 - "They can see your bank records, they can see your health records."

00:00:45 - "This app is built to be weaponized."

00:01:38 - "Any Chinese company ... has to turn over any information"