Secretary of State Mike Pompeo evidently thinks that he’s zeroed in on one of the supposed real threats to American security… TikTok. During an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Pompeo indicated that the U.S. government was considering the possibility of banning TikTok and other China-connected social media apps. TikTok is owned by a Beijing-based company called ByteDance, and Pompeo suggested that the company could be compelled to share data with Chinese authorities. According to TikTok, however, none of the data centers which store U.S. user data are even in China — the data is stored in the U.S., with back-ups in Singapore.
Pompeo told Ingraham that the Trump administration is “looking at” the possibility of banning TikTok, which is a very popular video-sharing app. He claimed that Americans should only use the app “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” although it’s unclear if there’s a shred of evidence that TikTok data is actually vulnerable.
‘We’re taking this very seriously… With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura. I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at.’
What’s Pompeo going to do next — come out to warn everybody not to buy anything made in China at all? Maybe he thinks everyone should hide in a bunker.
A TikTok spokesperson attempted to shut down Pompeo’s criticism after his interview. The spokesperson said:
‘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.’
As CNN reports, TikTok “says its data centers are located entirely outside of China, and that none of that data is subject to Chinese law,” and, as referenced previously, “US user data is stored in the United States, with a backup in Singapore,” according to the company. Again, it’s unclear if there’s any evidence supporting Pompeo’s fearmongering about the app.
Concern about TikTok is evidently near the top of his priorities list even while the U.S. faces national security threats like the alleged bounties that Russian authorities put on U.S. soldiers heads. Shouldn’t Pompeo be more worried about that situation than TikTok? Shouldn’t he be working with the president to formulate some kind of response? Instead, the president is tweeting and golfing, and Pompeo is sounding an alarm about TikTok during Fox News interviews.
Trump, for his part, has also been antagonistic towards China recently. He insists upon referring to the Coronavirus as the “China Virus,” as if he imagines that the pandemic is something that China “did to” the United States. It’s not, though — Trump is just a racist who appreciates opportunities to prove his racism to the world.