Amid a year fraught with trade issues and a Cold War-style arms race between the United States and China, a new alleged threat is now on the radar: the popular TikTok app, whose parent company is Beijing's ByteDance. Per CNBC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show Monday, and when asked if the US has considered banning TikTok and other social media apps out of China, Pompeo responded, "We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it." He then added, "We have worked on this very issue for a long time." Pompeo noted the previous actions the US had taken against Chinese telecommunications firms ZTE and Huawei, and that TikTok would just be the latest on its agenda, even though former Disney exec Kevin Mayer is the new CEO of TikTok and the company insists all of its data is safe from China and Chinese law.
"I can assure you the United States will get this one right, too," Pompeo said, per CNN Business. As for whether people should continue to download the app in the interim, Pompeo told Ingraham: "Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party." Meanwhile, the AP reports that, per a TikTok statement, the company is ceasing operations in Hong Kong "in light of recent events"—apparently referring to the city's new national security law designed to tamp down on subversive or secessionist activity. Other social media platforms and messaging apps—including Facebook (which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp), Twitter, and Google—have recently indicated they're pausing cooperation with Hong Kong on any data requests in the wake of the new law. (Read more TikTok stories.)