TikTok, one of the most popular apps in the world, as well as other Chinese apps, may soon be banned in the U.S. This, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently said that the administration is "very seriously" considering putting a restriction on the popular social media platform, among others. The reasoning boils down to potential privacy and censorship issues.
Mike Pompeo made the reveal during a recent interview. The high-ranking U.S. official was asked whether or not the United States should consider a ban on Chinese social media apps. While Pompeo didn't commit to saying TikTok will be banned or restricted, it is on the table. Here is what Pompeo had to say about it.
"We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time. Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure we've gone all over the world and we're making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security. With respect to Chinese apps on peoples' cellphones, the United States will get this one right too."
Ranking as one of the most popular apps in the world, TikTok has exploded in popularity. Particularly in 2020, as people have been stuck at home with little else to do during quarantine. The platform allows users to create and upload 15-second videos set to music. The app has a staggering 800 million active users worldwide. Quite a few celebrities, such as Amy Schumer, Jack Black, Will Smith and even Dame Judi Dench count themselves as users. Dench went so far as to say it "saved my life" in a recent interview.
The issue in the eyes of the government comes down to TikTok's parent company, Chinese technology giant ByteDance. Firstly, lawmakers are concerned that the platform may be censoring its content. The second issue is whether or not user data is being sent back to China, particularly at a time when tensions between the two nations is high. Following the comments made by Mike Pompeo, a representative for TikTok released the following statement.
"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. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."
TikTok has also opted to stop operations with its app in Hong Kong. A controversial national security law was recently passed there, which led the company to make the decision. It remains unclear at this time what that means for app users in the city. ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, have not commented on the situation as of this writing.
At a time when content is king, with many people still largely avoiding public gatherings, TikTok is a major resource for entertainment. Banning it in the U.S. would erase a large chunk of the user base and would have major ramifications. This news comes to us via Fox News.