President Trump is considering whether to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Wednesday.
TikTok allows users to post creative video compilations and is extremely popular among teens, rivaling US-based Instagram and Snapchat.
“The president is looking very closely at TikTok and WeChat, and some of these other applications that the Chinese are using to obtain data — personal, private, intimate data on Americans and then taking it back to Beijing, where they can use it for malign purposes,” O’Brien told reporters on the White House driveway.
The Trump administration is preparing “a significant rollout of measures with respect to China,” O’Brien said.
Trump and US officials are angered by China allegedly withholding early information about COVID-19, leaving other countries unprepared for its wave of death and economic ruin. And the Trump administration is seeking to punish China for enacting a new national security law that effectively ended political freedoms in Hong Kong.
“This is one of the biggest stories of the decade. We have Hong Kong that’s basically been annexed by the People’s Republic of China, by the Communist Party of China, and they’re imposing their will on a free and democratic people,” O’Brien said.
TikTok on the clock? Pompeo says US mulling ban of Chinese apps
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that “we’re looking at” TikTok and that Americans should use the social network “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
A federal inter-agency group called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reportedly is investigating national security concerns about TikTok.
Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department officials reportedly are investigating TikTok’s safeguards for children’s privacy.
TikTok said this week it has “never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” that the company takes “safety seriously for all our users” and that in the US, they “accommodate users under 13 in a limited app experience that introduces additional safety and privacy protections designed specifically for a younger audience.”
In 2017, China enacted the “National Intelligence Law,” which states that “Any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work.”
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