TikTok – the Chinese social media platform and mobile app has announced it would pull out of Hong Kong within days, as global tech giants struggle to figure out how to operate in the city under new security rules set by China.
TikTok app is owned by China-based ByteDance has made the decision to quit Hong Kong following China’s new national security law. “In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a TikTok spokesman said late on Monday in response to a Reuters question about its commitment to the market.
Major US social media companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Twitter have declared they have rejected the processing of requests for user data from the Hong Kong authorities while they study the new law.
The US companies’ social media platforms are mostly banned in China, where access is blocked by Beijing’s “great firewall”. Most have operated freely in Hong Kong but will now have to evaluate how to meet the new rule, which rights groups say endanger freedoms enjoyed for decades.
Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, said in a statement on Monday it was suspending reviews of user data requests for all of its services “pending further assessment of the National Security Law.”
Google and Twitter said they had suspended their reviews of data requests from Hong Kong authorities immediately after the law went into effect last week. Zoom and Microsoft’s LinkedIn issued similar statements later.
Apple said it does not receive requests for user content directly from Hong Kong, but requires authorities there to submit requests through the US department of justice under a legal assistance treaty. “We’re assessing the new law, which went into effect less than a week ago, and we have not received any content requests since the law went into effect,” Apple said in a statement.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US was considering banning TikTok in the country Asked if Americans should download it, he told Fox News: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”