The U.S. may ban Chinese social media apps including TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked Pompeo about whether the United States would consider banning social media apps from China, “especially TikTok,” during an interview Monday night.
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura,” Pompeo said. “I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at.”
“We’re taking this very seriously,” he added.
According to NBC, TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, which runs a separate app in China called Douyin. The company hired former Disney executive, Kevin Mayer, to be TikTok’s CEO earlier this year to rebuild trust with regulators and distance itself from China for more global appeal.
TikTok is a short-form video sharing app especially popular with millions of teenagers and young adults, raising concerns about violating children’s privacy laws and national security. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration have banned employees from using the app over questions about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data and personal information, locations and other content; Chinese laws compel companies to cooperate with China’s government and intelligence collection, Sen. Chuck Schumer said in February.
The Associated Press reports ByteDance says all its TikTok data is stored in servers in the U.S. and insisted it would not remove content even if asked to do so by the Chinese government.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement. “We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
Pompeo, however, said Americans should only download the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
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