U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the Chinese app TikTok is a “threat” to his country’s national security that “must end one way or another.”
The leader of U.S. diplomacy made these statements before a House of Representatives committee on the same day that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew asked before another U.S. Congressional hearing that the app not be vetoed in the country.
Republican Congressman Ken Buck asked Blinken whether TikTok is a “threat to the security of the United States,” to which the senior official replied, “I think it is. Yes”.
When asked by the same lawmaker whether the Chinese-origin app would have to be banned in the United States, the foreign secretary replied, “It should end one way or another. There are different ways to do it.”
“We, the Administration, and others are confronting the challenge that (TikTok) poses and are taking steps to address it,” he assured.
The United States has accused China of using TikTok as an espionage tool, so it has banned downloading the app on government cell phones, while Congress debates bills to veto it nationwide.
Earlier Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew warned members of Congress that banning his platform would harm the economy and freedom of speech.
Chew recalled that he is Singaporean and resides in Singapore, that TikTok is run by an executive team in the United States and Singapore, that its headquarters are in Los Angeles (USA) and Singapore, and that it is not available on the Chinese mainland.
He said he was aware, however, that the fact that its parent company, ByteDance, has Chinese founders has raised suspicions about whether its platform could be used or become a tool of China or the Communist Party.
His response on whether ByteDance has spied on Americans was more ambiguous: “I don’t think spying is the right way to describe it.”
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.