US ‘looking into’ banning TikTok and other Chinese apps, Pompeo says

Mike Pompeo said users were putting their data ‘in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party’

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 07 July 2020 10:18 BST
Mike Pompeo: US to consider banning TikTok and other Chinese apps

TikTok and other Chinese social media apps could soon be banned from the United States amid concerns over national security.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US was “certainly looking at” such a ban.

“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right,” Mr Pompeo told Fox News.

“I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at,” he continued. “We’re taking this very seriously”.

Mr Pompeo added on Monday that TikTok, which has some 30 million active American users a month, would put “your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party”.

Fox News host Laura Ingham had asked Mr Pomeo whether or not the US would consider banning Chinese social media apps amid increasing tensions between Washington and Beijing on trade, national security and the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called for a national security probe into TikTok in November 2019, when he wrote to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy with concerns over Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party".

TikTok, which is not available in China, has tried to put distance between it and Beijing, where the app’s owners, ByteDance, are located.

The video app argues that user data can not be controlled with Chinese laws because its data servers are not located there.

On Monday night, TikTok said it would leave Hong Kong within days after China introduced a new national security law in the semi-autonomous city.

In a statement, TikTok said it had decided to halt operations “in light of recent events”.

TikTok was among almost 60 Chinese apps banned in India after a border confrontation between India and China last month.

The Independent has contacted TikTok for comment on the possible US ban.

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