US President Donald Trump says he is considering a ban on the social media app TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese company, though he said other options remain in play.
“We are looking at TikTok. We may be banning Tiktok,” Trump told reporters outside the White House as he prepared to leave Washington for Florida on Friday.
He added that the administration was also considering “a lot of alternatives”.
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This week, the Trump administration put TikTok – a popular social media app among a younger demographic that specialises in short video formats – under a formal review at the Committee on Foreign Investments in the US (CFIUS).
The app is owned by the Beijing-based firm ByteDance, and the announcement about the review drew strong remarks from the Chinese government, which accused Washington of discrimination.
The app is the latest wrinkle in worsening tensions between the world’s two largest economies, who initially sparred over trade and maritime issues in the South China Sea.
However, the disagreements have since evolved into a wider dispute including over Hong Kong and Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minorities, and a crackdown on Chinese tech companies.
Washington argues these firms are a national security threat, and pushes its allies to take similar measures.
TikTok allows users to create short videos – often with some basic effects and music – which have become increasingly popular. The company insists it does not share user data with Beijing.
© DPA 2020