President Donald Trump has ordered a review of the Chinese-owned TikTok social media company which many have argued presents a threat to national security, the administration announced Wednesday.
TikTok is a popular video platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is in turn beholden to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed to reporters that he is conducting a review of the company’s ties to China and will make a recommendation on potential action to Trump before next week.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously confirmed the administration is seriously considering a ban on TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps. (RELATED: Report Reveals Role Huawei Had In Transporting US Tech To Iran)
“We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” Pompeo told Fox News earlier in July. “Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security.”
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced in June that his agency now classifies Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE as national security threats due to their ties to the CCP.
TikTok has denied that their ties to China threaten user security, however. Nevertheless, ByteDance employees are required to attend monthly CCP training sessions where they learn propaganda about the Chinese regime, and the company advertises that employees are preferred to “party members.”
“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 no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users,” a spokesperson said in a statement, according to CNBC.
“We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” the spokesman added.