The United States is looking at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He also added that people should only download the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Following Pompeo’s comments during his interview with Fox News, a TikTok spokesperson released a statement defending the applications ethics. “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US.”
“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.”
Pompeo’s remarks come during a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China.
TikTok,which is owned by Beijing-based startup ByteDance, has been repeatedly criticized by US politicians who have raised national security concerns because of its ties to China. They allege that the company could be compelled to “support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party” as is required of domestic companies by law.
In its defense,TikTok has previously said that it operates separately from ByteDance. Its data center is located entirely out of China and none of that data is subject to Chinese law. US user data is stored in the United States, with a backup in Singapore.
Last week, India banned TikTok as well as 58 other Chinese apps citing national concerns.Tensions between India and China have been escalating following a military clash along the Himalayan border. The company said that it would placate India and store all Indian data on a server in India, something the company said it would build a year ago, but has not yet delivered on.