The US government is “looking at” banning TikTok, said the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a recent interview.
Several Chinese social media apps, including the ByteDance-owned TikTok, have fallen under the government’s suspicion, over privacy and national security concerns. This has lead to believe President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a ban on TikTok in America because of the app’s ostensible responsibility for China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Talking about TikTok specifically, Pompeo added that users should only download it “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party”.
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” Pompeo said in the Fox News interview on Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at.”
Interestingly enough, on July 1 last week, the worldwide hacktivist collective Anonymous spread the message and urged users to delete TikTok, claiming it’s “essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation.” Read their full Twitter post below.
Delete TikTok now; if you know someone that is using it explain to them it is essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation. https://t.co/J7N9FS7PvG
— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) July 1, 2020
The same week (June 29), India banned TikTok along with 58 other China-based apps including WeChat, also citing privacy and national security concerns. However, the app’s US presence was defended by a TikTok spokesperson by saying: “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. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users,” the spokesperson claims. “We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”