In a statement just released by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the country is looking into banning Chinese social media apps, including the new, popular short-video app TikTok.
The announcement came on Monday, July 6, during an interview with Laura Ingraham for Fox News. When asked whether or not the US is considering the ban, Pompeo responded by saying that “We’re taking this very seriously.”
Going into more detail, the US diplomat said that “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right,” adding “I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at.”
Pompeo’s remarks come during a time of heightened tension between the US and China across a range of sectors, including national security, trade and technology.
A spokesman from TikTok addressed Pompeo’s comments, saying that “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,” adding “We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
The TikTok app has been the subject of criticism from many politicians, who accuse the video app of being a threat to national security. The government of India already announced that it would ban TikTok and other well-known Chinese apps last week.
Questioned about downloading the app, Secretary Pompeo told users not to, unless “you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
A spokesperson from the Beijing-based company ByteDance, which runs TikTok, protested to CNN Business that the various national security concerns against TikTok are “unfounded.”
The app has continued to grow in popularity in the US and other Western countries, having been downloaded 315 million times within the first three months of 2020 alone. According to the company Sensor Tower, TikTok has had more quarterly downloads than any app in history.