U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hinted that the United States was “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, suggesting it shared information with the Chinese government, a charge it denied.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.
Globally there are security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data.
Pompeo said Americans from downloading the short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance.
“Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo remarked when asked if he would recommend people to download TikTok.
TikTok in a statement said, “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.”
TikTok which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience.
Pompeo’s remarks also come amid the increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in the former British colony of Hong Kong and the trade war.
India has banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps citing security and privacy concerns amid the backdrop of India-China border dispute.