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July 7, 2020, 3:42 p.m. EDT

Pompeo says U.S. ‘looking at’ banning TikTok

TikTok says data is stored in U.S. servers, insists it would not remove content if asked by the Chinese government

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By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch

AFP/Getty Images
The U.S. is considering banning the Chinese short-form video-sharing app TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says.

‘We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it.’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The U.S. is considering banning Chinese social media apps including TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday during an interview on Fox News.

The Trump administration is “looking at” such a move over concerns TikTok is potentially being used by Beijing as a means to surveil people, Pompeo told Fox host Laura Ingraham .

Now read: TikTok says it will leave Hong Kong after recent passage of security law.

The secretary of state warned American users they should be cautious with the app, saying their private information would be “in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Also see: A U.S. ban on TikTok probably won’t happen, analyst says.

TikTok is operated by privately held Chinese internet giant Bytedance, and has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots while striving for global appeal, as the Associated Press writes. It recently hired former Walt Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -2.10%   executive Kevin Mayer to be its CEO.

TikTok has said all its data is stored in servers in the U.S. and insisted it would not remove content even if asked to do so by the Chinese government, according to the AP.

On Tuesday, TikTok said it will stop operations in Hong Kong, joining other social media companies in warily eyeing ramifications of a sweeping national security law that took effect last week.

Also read: India bans Tiktok and other Chinese apps for security reasons.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Robert Schroeder is the White House reporter for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @mktwrobs.

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