TikTok might be at the risk of losing yet another market. The United States is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps such as TikTok, said Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in an interview with Fox News.
When asked by Fox News host, Laura Ingraham whether the US is considering a ban on China-based apps, Pompeo claimed that the government is taking it “very seriously”.
Pompeo also brought to the attention the security concerns that have plagued TikTok over the past year warning viewers that they should only download the app if they want their “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, Laura. I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at,” he added.
We’ve reached out to TikTok for a comment and we’ll update the story when we hear back.
Incidentally, a week ago, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo had also applauded India’s ban on dozens of Chinese apps including TikTok. “We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that can serve as appendages of the CCP’s surveillance state. India’s Clean App approach will boost India’s sovereignty. It will also boost India’s integrity and national security, as the Indian Government itself has stated,” Pompeo said in a briefing at the time.
After China and India, the United States is TikTok’s third-largest market. As per Sensor Tower, US accounts for nearly 8% of TikTok’s total lifetime downloads.
TikTok, which is owned by a China-based startup called Bytedance, has been increasingly posed as a national security threat in the United States. The government has already banned it from several federal agencies such as the Navy and the Army citing similar security concerns. In February last year, TikTok was also fined $5.7 million for violating COPPA, a children’s privacy law. Later in November, the U.S. government even launched a national security investigation into TikTok.
In an attempt to put some of these concerns to rest, TikTok has been actively distancing itself from its Chinese roots by setting up offices in the United States and hiring former Walt Disney executive Kevin Mayer as its CEO.
Earlier today, TikTok announced it’s pulling out of Hong Kong due to a controversial, new security law that threatens free speech in the country.