The world’s hottest quick video app continues to be within the crosshairs of politicians globally.
On Monday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the USA is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok over issues that it might be utilized by the Beijing authorities as a surveillance and propaganda tool.
The potential ban would deal another blow to TikTok after it recently went down in its biggest market, India.
On the heel of Pompeo’s assertion, TikTok announced that it would pull out of Hong Kong, which is facing an unprecedented wave of control from the Beijing government after the promulgation of the national security legislation. “In light of recent events, we’ve determined to cease operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” mentioned a TikTok spokesperson. The corporate declined additional comment on the decision.
The vagueness of the statement leaves many questions unanswered. One has to wonder whether ByteDance will relaunch a censored version of the app in Hong Kong, presumably changing it with its sister app Douyin that’s operated by ByteDance’s Chinese team.
ByteDance, based by Chinese serial entrepreneur Zhang Yiming, has been working to disassociate TikTok from its Chinese possession and Beijing censorship. Efforts have ranged from preserving an overseas data center for TikTok that’s supposedly out of attain by the Chinese authority, giving outdoors consultants a glimpse into its moderation course of, by way of to hiring Disney’s Kevin Mayer because the app’s new world face. However its response to Hong Kong’s circumstances, presumably made by Mayer who is now the app’s chief executive, is a stark distinction to the selections by Western tech giants. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Telegram uniformly said this week they’d either cease or droop knowledge evaluate requests from the Hong Kong authorities.
Many see their move as an outright rejection of Chinese censorship and surveillance, whereas others assume they are merely buying time to ponder their next step in Hong Kong: exit voluntarily, wait and get banned, or adjust to Beijing guidelines — which appears the least likely. TikTok mentioned it had 150,000 customers in Hong Kong as of last September, an almost neglectable share given the app had 2 billion downloads globally by April. TechCrunch understands that the app operates a really small crew in Hong Kong, so the affect of this regional exit on workers seems to be to be restricted throughout the corporate.