President Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. is considering banning the TikTok social media app amid fears it could be used by China to spy on Americans.
“We’re looking at TikTok, we’re thinking about making a decision,” he told reporters at Lawn South before heading to the White House for a day trip to Texas.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who sided with Trump and addressed reporters, said TikTok is being watched by the U.S. Foreign Investment Committee, which reviews agreements from foreign buyers about potential national security risks.
President Trump (center) told reporters Wednesday that the US is ‘watching’ by banning TikTok, a Chinese social media app. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) says the application is being considered by the U.S. Foreign Investment Committee
TikTok faces regulatory challenges across the globe, and a possible ban by the U.S. government on suspicions that Beijing may force its Chinese owner to return user data. Chinese President Xi Jinping was photographed in May
The president made comments to TikTok as he left the White House Wednesday for a day trip to Texas. Mnuchin informed reporters that he would have a recommendation for the president this week on how to deal with the Chinese-based application
Mnuchin said he would make a recommendation to Trump this week.
The comments come after Joe Biden’s presidential campaign barred employees from using the Chinese video-sharing app, citing security and privacy concerns.
In a memorandum Monday, Biden’s general counsel Dana Remus ordered staff members to delete TikTok from their personal and work phones, and ‘refrain from downloading and using TikTok,’ according to Bloomberg.
The memo also prohibits staff from trading individual shares without the approval of the general campaign council, an unusual step for a presidential campaign.
TikTok faces regulatory challenges across the globe, and a possible ban by the U.S. government on suspicions that Beijing may force its Chinese owner to return user data.
The Senate is currently set to vote on a bill that would ban the use of TikTok on all government-issued devices.
The ‘No TickTok on Government Equipment’ Act, sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Government.
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has banned employees from using the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, citing security and privacy concerns
Companies including Wells Fargo, and government agencies including the Transportation Safety Administration, have already instructed their employees to delete TikTok from their work phones.
TikTok’s widespread popularity among American teens has brought scrutiny by U.S. regulators and lawmakers who fear their personal information could fall into the hands of government officials in Beijing.
TikTok, which was originally used to create short videos, dance, eye-sync, comedy and talent, said last year about 60 percent of its 26.5 million monthly active American users were between the ages of 16 and 24.
Under a Chinese law introduced in 2017, companies have an obligation to support and cooperate in the work of the country’s national intelligence.
TikTok’s widespread popularity among U.S. teens has sparked a scrutiny by U.S. regulators and lawmakers who fear their personal information could fall into the hands of government officials in Beijing
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to ban federal employees from downloading applications on government-released devices as part of a $ 741 billion defense policy bill.
Lawmakers voted 336-71 to approve the proposal, offered by Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican.
With passage into the Democrat-controlled House and approval by the Republican-led Senate Committee, the ban could soon become law in the United States.
Senior officials in the Trump administration have also said they were considering a broader ban on TikTok and other China-related applications, and that action could be immediate.
For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said Americans should be careful in using the app.
TikTok spokesman Jamie Favazza said the company’s growing US team has no higher priority than promoting a secure app experience that protects user privacy.
“Millions of American families use TikTok for fun and creative expression, which we know are not those for federal government equipment,” she said.
Later Wednesday in Washington, the heads of US-based technology companies will attend a Chamber session through Zoom. Participants will include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Google’s Sundar Pichai.