The U.S. government is considering a ban on TikTok, according to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. On Monday (July 6th), Pompeo appeared on Fox News to speak with host Laura Ingraham about the government's potential decision to ban the app, citing concerns over Chinese surveillance as the primary reason. "We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it," Pompeo told Ingraham. "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."
"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones," he continued, "I can assure you the United States will get this one right too." He went on to warn Americans that downloading the app could be dangerous, as it is believed to put users' private data into "the hands of the Chinese Communist Party." However, a spokesperson for TikTok insists that they have "never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."
"TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S.," the spokesperson said. "We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users."
TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and is currently one of the most downloaded apps across the globe. However, ByteDance has been accusedin the past of having ties to the Chinese Communist Party and censoring certain content on its platform, specifically "social and political topics," according to former employees. Last week, India banned TikTok and tons of other Chinese apps due to concerns over national security and user data privacy. According to India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, these banned apps "are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order."