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The Trump administration’s push to ban TikTok may eventually extend to numerous Chinese-developed apps.
“We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from U.S. app stores," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today.
On Wednesday, Pompeo said the White House is expanding the Clean Networks effort to tackle five new areas, including Chinese-made consumer apps.
Specifically, he named WeChat, a popular messaging app from Chinese tech giant Tencent, as among the products that should get pulled.
“President Trump has mentioned impending action on TikTok and for good reason,” Pompeo said during the press conference.
“With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat and others are significant threats to personal data of Americans, not to mention tools for CCP (Chinese Communist Party) content censorship.”How the White House might get U.S. app stores to ban the Chinese apps was left unsaid.
The other question is how the U.S. would determine if a Chinese-made app is trustworthy or not.
Past statements from Pompeo suggest any app that collects user data would fail to make the cut.
India has already embarked on its own ban of dozens of Chinese-made apps, including TikTok and WhatsApp, on claims the products all pose a spying threat.
“We don’t want companies to be complicit in Huawei’s human right abuses or the CCP’s surveillance apparatus,” Pompeo said.