Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Monday that the United States is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, one of the world’s most popular online platforms.
“We’re certainly looking at it,” Pompeo said, adding that the administration was taking the issue “very seriously.” “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cellphones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right.”
Pompeo’s interview comes amid rising tensions with China, which Trump has repeatedly blamed for America’s escalating coronavirus pandemic.
It also follows an underwhelming crowd at Trump’s rally in Tulsa that some blamed on a disruptive campaign led by TikTok users.
Ingraham also asked the secretary of state on Monday whether he would recommend Americans download TikTok or other Chinese social media apps to their phones.
Sec. Pompeo when asked if the Administration has considered banning TikTok: “We’re certainly looking at it.” pic.twitter.com/N9NmbDOka0— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 7, 2020
In an email to The Washington Post early Tuesday, a TikTok spokesperson denied that the popular video-sharing giant, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide, is influenced by any foreign government.
Before Pompeo’s interview, TikTok said Monday night that it would stop operating its app in Hong Kong, citing “recent events.”
Beijing last week passed new national security laws in the territory, classifying a wide range of crimes as terrorism and secession and criminalizing dissent — posing a problem for tech companies that operate there.
Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp said earlier that they will no longer process data requests from law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong until they assess the political changes.
On Fox News, Pompeo included the push against TikTok with the administration’s work against Huawei, the Chinese company that has long dominated global sales of equipment for wireless networks.
The Trump administration has labelled Huawei gear a security threat, urging allies not to use it in their 5G networks, The Post’s Jeanne Whalen reported. But a lack of alternatives to this point has rendered the campaign ineffective.
Some countries have already taken action against TikTok. India, which had nearly 200 million TikTok users, announced last week it was banning more than 50 Chinese mobile apps, including the video-sharing platform.
As The Post’s Joanna Slater reported, the ban was a consequence of the deadly clashes that killed 20 Indian soldiers last month, the most serious conflict between China and India in more than a half-century.
In announcing the ban, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said Chinese apps represented a threat to citizens’ privacy and national security.
The agency noted it had received complaints that the apps were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data” to servers outside the nation, an activity that, the ministry said, “ultimately impinges on the sovereignty and security of India.”Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Monday that the United States is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, one of the world’s most popular online platforms.
Noting that India had recently banned dozens of Chinese apps, Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked Pompeo whether the Trump administration was exploring similar action against TikTok, which has around 30 million active American users.