Politics

Navarro: Expect Trump Administration to Take More Action on TikTok, WeChat

White House trade adviser and Defense Production Act (DPA) coordinator Peter Navarro on July 12 said he expects President Donald Trump will take “strong action” against Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat.

Navarro told Fox News Sunday to expect that the president will take action against the social media apps for engaging in “information warfare” against the United States. These include Chinas largest messaging app WeChat, owned by tech giant Tencent, and ByteDances TikTok, which has attracted heightened scrutiny due to surveillance and censorship concerns.

“TikTok, WeChat, I suspect the president is just getting started with those two,” Navarro told the news outlet, noting Indias recent ban on 59, mostly Chinese, mobile apps, including TikTok and WeChat.

Navarro didnt elaborate on whether the president was considering a U.S. ban on the Chinese-owned apps, but said the president wouldnt rule it out.

“TikTok and WeChat are the biggest forms of censorship on the Chinese mainland, and so expect strong action on that,” Navarro alleged.

“What the American people have to understand is all the data that goes into those mobile apps that kids have so much fun with and seem so convenient, it goes right to servers in China, right to the Chinese military, the Chinese Communist Party, and the agencies that want to steal our intellectual property,” he told Fox News.

“Those apps can be used to steal personal and financial information for blackmail and extortion, they can be used to steal business intellectual property and proprietary secrets.”

TikTok, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from ByteDance to appeal to a global audience and claims to be independent of the Chinese regime. The company runs a similar short form video sharing app called Douyin within mainland China.

tiktok
A person holds a smartphone as TikTok logo is displayed behind in this picture illustration taken on Nov. 7, 2019. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Meanwhile WeChat, which has over a billion monthly active users worldwide, is known to censor its users in China to ensure content falls within topics deemed acceptable by the Chinese Communist Party.

Navarros comments come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the Trump administration is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, which is among the fastest growing digital platforms in history.

“I dont want to get out in front of the president, but its something were looking at,” Pompeo said.

When asked if Americans should download the app, he told Fox News, “Only if you want your private inRead More From Source