Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated during a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham that the United States is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese-owned social media apps. After raising how the government has dealt with the threat of Chinese telecom companies like Huawei, Pompeo said, “With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right too.”
CNBC reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Laura Ingraham during a Fox News interview this week that the federal government is “looking at” banning TikTok and other China-owned social media apps as scrutiny on Chinese tech companies grows. When asked in an interview with Fox News if banning TikTok and other Chinese apps was a possibility, Pompeo stated: “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it.”
Pompeo went on to add:
We have worked on this very issue for a long time.
Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security.
With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cellphones, the United States will get this one right too.
Pompeo referred to Huawei and ZTE which were recently designated national security threats by the FCC. Breitbart News reported at the time that FCC chairman Ajit Pai stated that the “weight of evidence” supported the decision.
An argument has been made for some time by federal agencies and lawmakers that due to the tech giants being subject to Chinese law, they could be forced to “cooperate with the country’s intelligence services,” Pai said.
The Republican-majority FCC said in a separate statement: “We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure.” The FCC stated that the designation takes immediate effect but it’s not clear yet how the designation will change day-to-day operations for the companies.
The FCC announced in November of 2019 that the companies that were deemed a national security threat would not be eligible to receive any money from the Universal Service Fund, a €7.52 billion fund which is the FCC’s main method of purchasing and subsidizing equipment and services to improve connectivity across the United States.
TikTok has made greater efforts to distance itself from its Chinese roots in America, with a spokesperson telling CNBC:
TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. 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.
However, despite claims that the company’s data servers are based outside China and not subject to Chinese law, many American lawmakers remain skeptical. TikTok was also recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps as tensions between India and China have been rising due to a border dispute in the Western Himalayas which resulted in a brief battle earlier this month resulting in at least 50 casualties.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com