The Trump administration is considering banning TikTok in the United States due to privacy concerns. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement during an interview with Fox News on Monday night.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said, adding that Americans should only download the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
The administration may also ban other Chinese social media apps as tension between the US and China continues to worsen, most recently due to the coronavirus pandemic.
TikTok is currently owned by China’s ByteDance, although the social media platform has attempted to distance itself from its parent company in recent months.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product and public policy in the U.S.,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC. “We have no higher priority than providing 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 Trump administration ultimately fears social media apps like TikTok are sharing user data with the Communist Party of China. At the time of writing, TikTok specifically is among the most downloaded apps in Apple’s App Store.
India recently banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps over security concerns, while Australia is considering a similar order.
It’s also worth mentioning that TikTok users sabotaged President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last month, which could also factor into the stateside decision.