TikTok, the short-form video app and social network owned by ByteDance, is facing a rough time. Recently, India banned its citizens from accessing TikTok, and nearly 60 other popular Chinese apps, and now the U.S. may follow suit.
In an interview on Fox News, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted at the possibility, saying: “I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at.” Pompeo likened the situation to the U.S. bans against Huawei and ZTE.
TikTok, while separate from its Chinese counterpart Douyin, is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. TikTok has taken steps to differentiate itself and recently announced it would pull out of Hong Kong due to a new security law that expanded the China Mainland government’s power in the country.
But those actions haven’t stemmed the tide of speculation that TikTok may feed data about its users directly to China, with or without permission. For its part, TikTok denies sharing data with the Chinese government in a statement to CNBC:
TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. 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 Secretary of State didn’t specify what a ban might look like or timing for moving forward for fear of “getting ahead of the President.” He would only say, “[w]ith respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too.”
Time will tell if TikTok can weather the storm of a ban in India and possibly other countries, or if creators will jump ship before the potential bans can occur.
via Fox News