The United States is "looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.
Pompeo suggested the possible move during an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, adding that "we're taking this very seriously."
Pompeo was asked by Ingraham whether the United States should be considering a ban on Chinese social media apps, "especially TikTok." "With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura," he said. "I don't want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it's something we're looking at."
US President Donald Trump said his administration is considering banning the short video app TikTok. Trump’s comments on Tuesday came one day after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said officials were looking at barring the app. Trump did not offer any specifics about a potential decision.
“Certain US politician's comments are just groundless slanders. The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to observe laws and regulations when doing business overseas. If we follow the logic of the US side, can we say that American social media companies, with a large number of users globally, pose a grave security threat to all other countries in the world? They should be placed under the supervision and evaluation of the international community more than others.”
“We urge some people in the US to be fair-minded and unbiased, stop presuming others' behavior based on their own pattern, stop employing state power to oppress Chinese companies, and do more things that are conducive to China-US relations.”
TikTok — which is owned by Beijing-based startup ByteDance — has been repeatedly criticized by US politicians who accused the short-form video app of being a threat to national security because of its ties to China.
TikTok has said previously that it operates separately from ByteDance. US user data is stored in the United States, with a backup in Singapore, according to TikTok. A spokesperson for the company told CNN Business in May that it thinks the national security concerns are "unfounded."
The app has exploded in popularity in the United States and other western countries, becoming the first Chinese social media platform to gain significant traction with users outside of its home country. It was downloaded 315 million times in the first three months of this year, more quarterly downloads than any other app in history, according to analytics company Sensor Tower.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday used TikTok for the first time to congratulate French school leavers after their exam results.
"The first thing to say is bravo, congratulations, it is the fruit of your work," said Macron in a video filmed in the garden of the Elysee Palace. But he also told the teenage viewers they belonged to a "generation which we are calling sometimes the world after", referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the new generation must create a world that is "stronger, shows more solidarity and is more ecological", while adding: "It is not me who will decide your future, it is you."