Mike Pompeo Says The U.S. Is Looking Into A Ban On TikTok For Security Reasons
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this week that they were looking into banning Chinese apps, including TikTok, due to national security concerns, according to a report by BBC News.
"I don't want to get out in front of the president, but it's something we're looking at,” he said.
The app has been downloaded more than two billion times already, facing incredible growth within the last three years.
When asked if he recommended downloading TikTok, Pompeo said, “"Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Other nations have also criticized TikTok. India banned the app last week alongside 58 other Chinese apps. Although India cites security concerns as their reasoning, the full story may also have to do with the recent border issue between China and India that killed 20 Indian soldiers.
Pompeo commended India’s move to ban the app, saying that Chinese applications "serve as appendages of the Chinese Communist Party's surveillance state.”
Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, expressed similar praise, saying, "Good to see India ban 59 popular apps owned by Chinese firm."
Australia’s deputy chairman of the foreign interference through social media inquiry, also said that TikTok may be “a data collection service disguised as social media.”
With other nations expressing similar concerns, the U.S. is considering a ban on the app, too.
"With respect to Chinese apps on peoples' cellphones, I can assure you the US will get this right too," Pompeo said.
TikTok has begun trying to distance itself from China already after concerns began growing, announcing that it would quit Hong Kong within days after the new National Security Law went into practice. This comes after Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp all declared that they would not hand over data to the Hong Kong government.
Earlier this year, TikTok also hired an American chief executive, Kevin Mayer, and has begun highlighting its offices in places like London and Los Angeles.
TikTok has stated that they would never share data with China.
"I can confirm that the Chinese government has never made a request to us for the TikTok data of Indian users," Mayer said. "If we do ever receive such a request in the future, we would not comply."
The company denies any collusion with the Chinese government.
"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," said TikTok.
Already, the suspicion is drawing some away from the app and other social media platforms are monopolizing on the opportunity. Facebook has started pushing its Instagram Reels feature in India and other locations. The feature allows users to post 15-second videos, which is strikingly similar to what TikTok is used for.
Read the full report here.