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Opinion: Can U.S. boot TikTok out of the country? Doubtful

Photo credit: Shutterstock via CNN.

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News earlier this week that the U.S. is considering a ban on the popular video-sharing Chinese social media app TikTok. This comes after India has already banned the app, citing a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.”

I don’t know what the heck TikTok is. I’m just a dad who is starting to lose his hair.

Kids and the TikTok app

I hear about the kids taking a TikTok break and they dance into their app.

“We want to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t have a way to easily access” U.S. citizens’ data, Pompeo told reporters during a news briefing at the State Department, according to

FBI Director Christopher Wray called China’s acts of espionage and theft the “greatest threat” to the future of the United States. He said the FBI opens a China-related counterintelligence case every 10 hours and has more than 2,000 active cases under way.

Wray called China’s espionage and cyberattacks on the United States “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.”

The kids around the world who have made this app so popular don’t know about the Chinese Communist Party. They’re going to need their parents to weigh in on this one. But kids allowing their parents to tell them what to do or what not to do with their cellphones? I don’t think so.

How a ban might work

This may come down to Pompeo nicely asking the providers, like Google and Apple, to restrict access to the TikTok app or drop it all together from their app stores. But there’s no telling how those U.S. companies would respond to a request like that.

I don’t know how much power the U.S. government can leverage against these companies.

But I do know this: America is not India. So banning TikTok in the U.S. might be very tough, especially since it’s so popular with the kids.

Wray said that if you are an American adult “it’s more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data.”

The FBI director also said China is working “at this very moment” to compromise U.S. healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institution conducting essential COVID-19 research. 

Stay tuned. This one is not over.


Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.