In some ominous news for American teens, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the White House was considering whether to ban TikTok.
Pompeo is certainly not a TikTok user himself. During a Fox News interview on Monday night, he was asked whether he would recommend downloading the massively popular Chinese video-sharing app.
“Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” he replied.
Then, when asked if Chinese apps like TikTok would be banned, he responded: “I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at.”
Of course, saying that you’re “looking at” something is about as noncommital as you can get and, in political parlance, is typically code for something that you don’t plan to do.
However, the vague pronouncement certainly can’t be comforting for TikTok, which has faced increased difficulties recently because of it being owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance.
While TikTok has repeatedly insisted that it will not share data with the Chinese government — even if asked —critics remain unconvinced, even as the app announced this week that it would be promptly pulling out of Hong Kong in the wake of controversial new national security laws coming into place.
When I asked TikTok last night about Sec Pompeo’s comments on Fox about the White House is “looking at” banning the Chinese-owned app in US.. they said this ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uuMYjQZ93r
— Jo Ling Kent (@jolingkent) July 7, 2020
TikTok has already been barred from one of its biggest markets with the Indian government banning 59 Chinese apps last week following a brutal border skirmish between Chinese and Indian troops high up in the Himalayas.
Some Republican politicians have suggested that the US should follow suit, though, at least for now, that’s only something that Trump is “looking at.”