Trump-led administration said on Wednesday it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks.
The government also called the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok and messenger app WeChat “significant threats.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said expanded U.S. efforts on a program it calls “Clean Network” would focus on five areas and include steps to prevent various Chinese apps, as well as Chinese telecoms companies, from accessing sensitive information on American citizens and businesses.
Pompeo’s announcement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok.
TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing app has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers and the administration over national security concerns, amid intensified tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat and others are significant threats to personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP (Chinese Communist Party) content censorship,” Pompeo said.
TikTok currently faces a deadline of Sept. 15 to either sell its U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp or face an outright ban.