The president is holding a congressional hearing with tech CEOs on July 29. This hearing could further influence Trump’s decision over the TikTok ban.
News broke on July 7 that the Trump Administration is considering banning TikTok in the U.S. over potential security and privacy concerns. Following this, various members of the Trump administration have come forward with information regarding the ban.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warns that Americans should only download the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
“We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time,” he says. “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right, too.”
Then, on July 14, White House advisor Peter Navarro hinted that a TikTok shutdown in the country may actually happen. He claims that both TikTok and WeChat help China engage in “information warfare” against the United States.
Now, it looks like Trump is closer to making his decision about the ban. On July 29, Trump said that his administration is “thinking about making a decision” regarding TikTok. As well, he is meeting with various tech CEOs for a congressional hearing. This hearing could influence the actions the president plans to take against TikTok and other tech companies.
“We’re looking at TikTok, we’re thinking about making a decision,” Pres. Trump says when asked about whether he was nearing decision about banning the platform.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 29, 2020
As well, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin plans to make his recommendation to Trump about the possible ban. On Wednesday, Mnuchin shared that TikTok is under national security review. His agency plans to make a recommendation to the president about the app sometime this week.
“TikTok is under CFIUS review. We will be making a recommendation to the president this week so we have lots of alternatives,” Mnuchin says.
TikTok has over 65 million active users in the United States alone. As well, it consistently ranks as one of the most downloaded apps on Apple‘s App Store. According to analytics company Sensor Tower, TikTok was downloaded 315 million times in the first three months of 2020. That is more quarterly downloads than any other app in history.
Despite its success, U.S. government officials have expressed concerns in the past over the amount of data that TikTok collects. This is all particularly concerning for the U.S. government since TikTok is a Chinese company. In 2019, the U.S. military banned its personnel from using the app on government-issued phones and devices.
Amid the government’s investigation, a TikTok spokesperson recently released a statement stating that the app does not provide users’ info to the Chinese government.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO,” the spokesperson says. “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.”
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