Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late on Monday that the United States is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.
U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience and has emphasized its independence from China.
Pompeo’s remarks also come amid increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war.
TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps after a border clash between India and China.
Reuters reported late on Monday that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, deciding to do so after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.