The United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said his government is officially considering banning the video making app TikTok from the country. The move is an attempt to hit back at China for its poor handling of the deadly Coronavirus. The US President has multiple times accused China of intentionally breeding and spreading the virus globally.
Trump’s comments came only a day after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said officials were looking at barring the app, whose parent company is China’s ByteDance Ltd.
“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” Trump said in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren. “It’s a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.”
Trump, however, did not offer when he plans to take any specific decision. Banning TikTok he said is “one of many” ways he is going to make the Beijing government pay for the Coronavirus. The United States has the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the world. The virus has infected nearly 3 million people and killed more than 130,000.
TikTok in their statement has unequivocally denied serving users data to China, as suggested by Pompeo in an interview. A spokesperson of the company clarified saying, “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to SensorTower estimates. TikTok has denied allegations that it poses a threat to U.S. national security.
In a public show of support for protecting user data from the Chinese government, TikTok on Monday said it would cease operations in Hong Kong over a national security law that compels social media apps to hand over user data to Beijing.
Meanwhile, India took a hard step against China by banning 60 Chinese-based apps from the country. These include TikTok, SHAREit, LiveChat, Shein among many others. The move came amidst India’s growing demand to boycott Chinese products/ apps after 20 Indian soldiers were martyred in a violent face-off.
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