- State Secretary Mike Pompeo said late Monday that the US is “surely looking to” ban Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
State Secretary Mike Pompeo said late Monday that the US is “surely looking to” ban Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but we are looking at it,” Pompeo said in an interview with an American news channel.
US lawmakers have raised national security concerns about TikTok ‘s handling of user data, saying they are concerned about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with Chinese Communist Party-controlled intelligence work.”
The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to attract a global audience and has underlined its independence from China.
Pompeo ‘s remarks also come amid the tensions between the US and China over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in Hong Kong, and a nearly two-year trade war.
The top diplomat in Washington added that people should download the app only “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders in security, product, and public policy here in the US,” a TikTok spokeswoman said in a statement following Pompeo ‘s remarks. “We have no higher priority than ensuring a healthy and stable device experience for our users. We have never provided the Chinese government with user data, nor will we do so on request.”
Meanwhile, as other technology companies including Facebook Inc have stopped processing government requests for user data in the country, the short-video sharing site said it would be exiting the Hong Kong market within days.
Following China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city, TikTok owned by China-based ByteDance decided to exit the region.
The company, now run by executive Kevin Mayer of Walt Disney Co, has said in the past that user data for the app is not stored in China.
India banned 59 mobile apps, mostly Chinese, last week including TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat, in its strongest move yet targeting China in the online space since last month’s border crisis erupted. The move potentially dented the expansion plans of big Chinese companies for the market in South Asia.
Existing and expected investment by Chinese companies in India stands at more than $26 billion, Brookings research group said in March.