The US Looks Into Banning TikTok and Other Chinese Apps, Pompeo Says
In an interview with Fox News, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok. He added, “we’re taking this very seriously.”
"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too," he told Fox. "I don't want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it's something we're looking at."
Pompeo warned that people should only download the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
In response to Pompeo’s comments, a TikTok spokesperson said: “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. 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.”
Heightened geopolitical tensions between the US and China have affected several arenas, including national security, trade, and technology.
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, receives continuous criticism from US politicians, who accused the video app of threatening national security due to ties with China. US leaders allege that TikTok could be influenced to “support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The Indian government similarly expressed intent to ban TikTok and other Chinese apps because they pose a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.” Tensions between these powerful Asian nations escalate over disputes along the Himalayan border.
TikTok claimed it operates separately from ByteDance, and its data centers are all outside of China, so none of that data is subject to Chinese law. US user data is stored in the US with backups in Singapore. The company’s spokesperson told CNN Business that the national security concerns are “unfounded.”
The app gained widespread popularity across the US and other western countries, becoming the first Chinese social media platform to gain major attention abroad. With 315 million downloads from January to March, TikTok had more quarterly downloads than any other app in history, according to analytics company Sensor Tower.