by David M. Higgins II, Publisher
In an interview, Monday with Fox News’ Laura Ingram, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is considering banning some Chinese associated Social Media apps including the widely popular TikTok.
TikTok is owned by Bejing startup ByteDance. The company claims it is independent of the Chinese Government and owns data centers outside of China and is not subject to Chinese law. The comments from Pompeo came hours before the company said it would no longer operate the app in Hong Kong.
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura,” he said. “I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at.”
The company says it operates separately from ByteDance and is “led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement following Pompeo’s comments. “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 has run into roadblocks within other countries recently also. Last week, the Indian government said it was banning TikTok and other Chinese apps because they pose a “threat to the sovereignty and integrity” of the country.
TikTok’s departure from Hong Kong comes as other social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Google and Twitter are balking at the possibility of providing user data to Hong Kong authorities.
The social media companies say they are assessing the ramifications of the national security law.
TikTok has exploded in the USA and has been downloaded 315 million times in the first quarter of the year according to analytics company Sensor Tower.