Amid growing scrutiny over TikTok as a probable national security risk in the United States, WeChat – a key application for Chinese people's day-to-day activities – is now also in the crosshairs of Washington.
White House adviser Peter Navarro disclosed that he expects U.S. President Donald Trump to take a "strong action" against Chinese-developed social media apps WeChat and Tiktok for engaging in information warfare against the U.S.
The Trump administration is "just getting started" with the two wildly popular Chinese apps, and he would not discard the possibility of the U.S. banning them, Navarro disclosed on Fox News on Sunday, in the face of escalating frictions between Beijing and Washington. And even if an American company buys the app, it would not solve the issue, he said.
Last week, the President divulged that he was looking at banning TikTok as a way to punish China over the ongoing global health crisis. During an interview with Fox News, Navarro claimed that what the American people have to understand is "all of the data that goes into those social media apps that kids have so much fun with ... goes right to servers in China, and right into its military," AFP reported, as posted on VOA News.
TikTok belongs to the Chinese tech group ByteDance and has almost one billion users around the globe. It has sought to separate itself from its Chinese owners, stressing that it has an American top executive and consistently denying accusations that it shares information with China. WeChat, owned by Tencent, is China's main messaging app with over a billion users.
The scrutiny of TikTok formed part of a large-scale move to protect American citizens' private information, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said. Navarro did not specify which action the Trump administration might carry out.
WeChat refused to comment on the news. TikTok disclosed in a statement to TechCrunch that protecting the privacy of users' information is a critical priority for TikTok and it has "never shared TikTok user data with the Chinese government, and would not do so if asked."
On Friday, Amazon said it had sent employees an email by mistake, telling them to delete the TikTok mobile application from their mobile phones because of security concerns. A spokesperson from the company later told AFP that there is no revision change to their policies with regards TikTok.