After India, US may ban Chinese apps including TikTok
Furious at China for plenty of reasons, the United States is now planning to land a "tech blow" to the Asian country, as it is looking towards banning Chinese social media apps, including the hugely-popular platform TikTok. In an interview, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said the US was taking this matter "very seriously." Just last week, India had banned 59 Chinese apps.
Background: Why is the US angry with China?
The US was already engaged in a trade war with China, which cooled off to some extent in January when a partial deal was inked. Just when US President Donald Trump declared it as a "big win," coronavirus jolted the globe. The virus, which originated in China, killed 132,979 people in the US and destroyed its economy. The crisis is still not over.
Yesterday, Trump said China caused great damage to US
On Monday, Trump put out a tweet saying China caused immense damage to the US and the rest of the world. In fact, in his tweets, he regularly refers to coronavirus as "China virus," despite being slammed for it. Like Trump, Pompeo isn't a fan of China or China's Communist Party. During his interview, Pompeo said the US was thinking about the ban route.
Pompeo also raised concerns about private information being leaked
Speaking to Fox News, Pompeo said, "I don't want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it's something we're looking at. With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too." Further, Pompeo said people should only download TikTok if they want their private information leaked to China.
TikTok is accused of exchanging private data with China
Tellingly, there have been growing concerns in the US about TikTok, a short-form video app owned by Chinese company ByteDance. The app, which is interestingly not available in China, has been accused of disclosing crucial data to Chinese authorities, a charge it denies. After India banned the apps, in the backdrop of Indo-China tensions, several politicians demanded the same in the US.
Security expert said China regularly deletes accounts criticizing CCP
Last month, US National Security Advisor, Robert O'Brien, claimed China used TikTok for its own purposes. "On TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media platform with over 40 million American user- probably a lot of your kids, and younger colleagues- accounts criticizing the CCP and Beijing's policies are routinely removed or deleted," he said. Republican Congressman Rick Crawford said TikTok should have "gone" long ago.
Earlier, TikTok said national security concerns are "unfounded"
Scrutinized for being careless with users' data, ByteDance had told CNN in May that the national security concerns are "unfounded." It had also claimed that its data centers are not located in China, hence, aren't subjected to Chinese laws. About the data of US users, TikTok had said it stores it in the country itself and has a backup in Singapore.