US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that Washington was considering banning Chinese mobile apps such as TikTok, after India blocked the popular platform and Australia said it was weighing a similar move.
Asked during an interview with Fox News about the Chinese apps, Pompeo said: “We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it.
“We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it’s the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure — we’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out,” he added. “We had declared ZTE a danger to American national security.”
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cellphones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” Pompeo said, but added that he didn’t want to go into detail to avoid “getting ahead” of US President Donald Trump.
“But it is something we are looking at,” he continued.
He warned the public to be careful while using TikTok, cautioning that their information could end up “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok has consistently denied sharing any user data with authorities in China, and was adamant it did not intend to begin to agree to such requests.
Separately, TikTok said late Monday that it was stopping its popular video snippet-sharing app from working in Hong Kong due to “recent events.”
The move by TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, came as Facebook, Google and Twitter put a hold on requests by Hong Kong’s government or police force for information on users, following China’s imposition of a sweeping new security law.
“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” TikTok told AFP.
The company expects to take several days to wind-down app operations in Hong Kong.
TikTok has become a global sensation with users sharing 15 to 60-second video clips on everything from hair dye tutorials to dance routines and gags about daily life.
It joined the EU’s disinformation code of conduct last week as tech giants seek to persuade Europe to back away from setting laws against harmful content online.