Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, July 6, that the United States is "looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, according to Reuters.
In an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, Pompeo was asked whether the U.S. considers a ban on Chinese social media apps, "especially TikTok." He said they are taking the possible move "very seriously."
"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too," Pompeo told Ingraham. "I don't want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it's something we're looking at," he added.
The State Secretary also warned that people should only download the app they if want their "private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."
TikTok has not yet issued a statement over the Washington's top diplomat's claims, which came consequently to the increasing friction between the U.S. and China. The political tensions have already spilled over into technology, trade, and national security.
TikTok has been receiving criticisms from U.S. politicians who tag the video app as a threat to national security because of its ties to China. TikTok is owned by startup ByteDance, which is alleged to "support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."
While it is owned by ByteDance, TikTok has already previously explained that it operates autonomously with its data centers located outside of China. The company also added that none of its data is subject to Chinese law.
The video app also said the data for its American subscribers are stored in the U.S. with a backup in Singapore.
TikTok became the first Chinese social media platform to gain a significant amount of users from outside China. It rose to popularity early this year in western countries, particularly the U.S.
Analytics company Sensor Tower said TikTok had the highest quarterly downloads in history with more than 315 million downloads during the first quarter of this year.