TikTok and other Chinese social media apps in danger of US ban

Officials say they’re “looking at” Chinese social media apps to see if they’re security threats

When asked if the US government is concerned about Chinese social media apps, such as the popular video app, TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it.”

Security concerns are the basis of the distrust of Chinese social media apps. There is concern the Chinese government can access any user data these apps collect. 

TikTok, which has an estimated 80 million active monthly users in the US, has tried to distance itself from its Chinese roots. Earlier this year, the company brought on former Disney executive, Kevin Mayer as CEO in the hopes that an American leader could help calm the waters of regulations worldwide. 

A TikTok spokesperson told 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 US. 

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,”

The US government has been scrutinizing Chinese technology in recent months amid rising tensions between the two countries. Two major Chinese makers of mobile phones, Huawei and ZTE, have been put under the microscope as more markets embrace 5G technology. Washington fears equipment from these manufacturers could be used for espionage.

As for TikTok, Pompeo obviously isn’t convinced it’s secure. In the Fox News interview, he was asked if Americans should still download the TikTok app. He replied: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

TikTok claims its user data storage is primarily in the United States with a backup in Singapore. TikTok says this puts the data out of the reach of Chinese law. 

The social media company recently launched TicTok for Business, making the timing of this controversy especially unfortunate.

Featured Resources

How to scale your organisation in the cloud

How to overcome common scaling challenges and choose the right scalable cloud service

Download now

The people factor: A critical ingredient for intelligent communications

How to improve communication within your business

Download now

Future of video conferencing

Optimising video conferencing features to achieve business goals

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Recommended

Hackers steal 70GB of data from far-right social network Gab
social media

Hackers steal 70GB of data from far-right social network Gab

1 Mar 2021
Parler suffers data leak before being taken offline
social media

Parler suffers data leak before being taken offline

12 Jan 2021
Trump's TikTok ban hits another roadblock
social media

Trump's TikTok ban hits another roadblock

9 Dec 2020
People can’t resist opening LinkedIn phishing emails
Security

People can’t resist opening LinkedIn phishing emails

16 Nov 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

26 Feb 2021
How to connect one, two or more monitors to your laptop
Laptops

How to connect one, two or more monitors to your laptop

25 Feb 2021
How to build a CMS with React and Google Sheets
content management system (CMS)

How to build a CMS with React and Google Sheets

24 Feb 2021