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INGSOC
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Why is the Trump administration worried about TikTok?

Politicians are concerned that the Chinese government could use the video app to spy on US citizens. In an interview with Fox News that aired July 6, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said users who download the app are putting "private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party." Trump cited a different reason: punishing China for its response to the coronavirus. Asked about Pompeo's remarks, Trump confirmed the US is considering a TikTok ban. "It's a big business," Trump said during an interview with Gray Television. "Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they've done to this country and to the entire world, is disgraceful." He followed up on July 31 with his comments aboard Air Force One.

Trump's and Pompeo's remarks came after TikTok users and K-pop fans said they helped spoil attendance at a June presidential rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by reserving thousands of tickets online with no intention of attending. Trump supporters have a visible presence on TikTok, so banning the app could also work against the president during an election year.

On July 12, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox Business that TikTok and messaging app WeChat "are the biggest forms of censorship on the Chinese mainland" and to expect "strong action on that." He didn't specify if a ban was coming.

TikTok's access to US users' data may well be worth investigating. There'll always be concerns when apps from foreign companies collect large amounts of user data, said tech policy expert Betsy Cooper, director of the Aspen Policy Hub.
 
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