- Trump implied a ban on TikTok would be a way of punishing China for the coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan.
- Trump's rationale is slightly different from the reason given by Pompeo, which is that the US is worried TikTok could be a national security risk.
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President Donald Trump said Tuesday he's considering banning popular video-sharing app TikTok.
His remarks follow similar comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who told Fox News on Monday that the administration was considering banning TikTok over privacy and national security concerns, fearing Chinese surveillance.
"It's something we're looking at, yes," Trump said on Tuesday when asked about Pompeo's remarks by Gray Television's Greta Van Susteren, per Bloomberg .
"It's a big business," he said. "Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they've done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful," he said, adding that banning TikTok was "one of many" options he's considering to punish China over the coronavirus.
Trump was not specific about what element of China's response to the coronavirus angered him.
In March he has defended calling coronavirus "the Chinese virus" in response to an accusation from a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman that the US military brought the virus to Wuhan.
Trump's justification differs from Pompeo's, who told Fox News the issue was whether TikTok is handing private user data over to the Chinese government. TikTok is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing.
US politicians have voiced concerns over TikTok's Chinese roots for months now. But for the president, the app's popularity may rankle for a different reason. Teen activists on the app in June claimed to have tanked Trump's comeback rally in Oklahoma by signing up for tickets then not attending.
A TikTok spokesperson told BI: "TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy 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."
TikTok poached Disney streaming executive Kevin Mayer to be its CEO in May in an attempt to reassure American lawmakers and consumers.
On June 30 TikTok was banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps following an escalation in political tensions between India and China after a border skirmish on June 15.