Pompeo: US ‘certainly looking at’ ban on Chinese social media apps like TikTok
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is “certainly” exploring a ban on Chinese social media apps such as TikTok, citing concerns the app has shared user data with the government in Beijing.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo told Fox News Monday.
Asked whether he recommended downloading TikTok, Pompeo responded: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Bipartisan U.S. lawmakers have previously expressed concerns about the app in connection with Chinese laws that require the nation’s firms to “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” Reuters noted.
Pompeo’s comments come shortly after India banned TikTok, as well as 58 other Chinese apps, following a border skirmish between the two nations. It also comes in the wake of TikTok reportedly leaving the Hong Kong market days after an expansive new Chinese national security law that critics say erodes the city’s autonomy took effect.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) asked then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire in an October letter to look into whether the app poses “national security risks.”
“Security experts have voiced concerns that China’s vague patchwork of intelligence, national security, and cybersecurity laws compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” they wrote.
“Given these concerns, we ask that the Intelligence Community conduct an assessment of the national security risks posed by TikTok and other China-based content platforms operating in the U.S. and brief Congress on these findings,” they added.
TikTok in a statement to The Hill denied providing any user data to Beijing.
“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,” the company said.
Updated at 8:03 a.m.