Apart from TikTok, the United States is also planning to take action “with respect to a broad array of national security risks” posed by other Chinese apps such as instant messaging platform, WeChat in the coming days, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, August 2.
Pompeo, in an interview with Fox News, accused the “countless more” Chinese services available in the U.S. of “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party”.
“It could be their facial recognition pattern. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to,” he added. “Those are the issues that President [Donald] Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of. These are true national security issues. They are true privacy issues for the American people.”
Without offering a concrete timeline, Pompeo said the Trump administration is now “closing in on a solution” after evaluating these China-based firms for several months, and that Trump is expected to make the announcement shortly.
This isn’t the first time WeChat’s business in the United States has been under threat. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said a few weeks ago that “TikTok and WeChat are the biggest forms of censorship on the Chinese mainland, and so expect strong action on that.”
We’ve reached out to WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, for a comment and we’ll update the story when we hear back.
Pompeo’s comments come after a tumultuous weekend for the viral short-form video platform, TikTok. Although Trump said on Friday that the U.S. is banning the app, TikTok’s parent company, BydeDance, was seemingly able to reach a more favorable compromise over the weekend by agreeing to hand over its ownership. Later on Sunday, Microsoft confirmed it’s pursuing a purchase of TikTok in the U.S.
“Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020,” the Redmond, Seattle-based software giant wrote in a blog post. “During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States government, including with the president.”
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