TikTok’s US operations boss says company is caught up in geopolitical tension


A TikTok executive denied any possibility that the app could be a US national security threat.

Angela Lang/CNET

TikTok’s head of US operations denied that the short-video app could be a national security threat. In an interview with NBC’s Today on Tuesday, Vanessa Pappas said TikTok has “very strict data controls” and doesn’t sell user information.

“We are at a time where we’re seeing … a geopolitical tension between the US and China, and we are in the middle of that,” Pappas said.

Her comments come after US President Donald Trump issued on Friday a second executive order in relation to the app, giving Chinese parent company ByteDance 90 days to finalize a deal to sell off TikTok’s US arm. Microsoft is in talks to buy up the TikTok app from ByteDance, and Oracle is reportedly looking at doing so as well.

Read more: Worries over TikTok: What you need to know

Trump and others say they’re concerned because TikTok collects data from US users and ByteDance could be forced by China’s communist government to hand over that information. The US military has placed restrictions on the app’s use by its members, and both houses of Congress have voted to ban the app from federal devices. Other countries are concerned as well. India has banned TikTok, and Australia is considering blocking it.

Also Tuesday, TikTok set up an information hub and Twitter account to combat what it has called misinformation and rumors about the app.

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