Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US is considering banning TikTok over concerns of Chinese surveillance.
Speaking to Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Pompeo said that the Trump administration was “certainly” looking at banning the viral video app.
“We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it,” Pompeo said. “We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether its the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure — we’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out — we had declared ZTE a danger to American national security,” said Pompeo.
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” he said.
Pompeo warned that Americans should be wary of downloading the popular app unless they wanted their private data “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
India banned TikTok last week, along with dozens over other Chinese apps, citing concerns about national security and privacy of user data. In a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the banned apps “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.”
TikTok, one of the most downloaded phone apps in the world, is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. ByteDance has come under scrutiny in recent months over reports alleging ties to the Chinese Communist Party and allegations of censorship on its platform. Earlier this year, several US government agencies banned TikTok over concerns about cybersecurity.
Last year, the app issued a public apology after being accused of censoring videos that called out Chinese human rights abuses. Former employees have alleged TikTok restricts content dealing with “social and political topics.”
TikTok says that despite its Chinese parent company, it is an international company that operates independently from the Chinese government. The company maintains that it has never received requests from the Chinese government to hand over user data, nor would it do so in the future.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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