INTRO: TikTok, the China-based short-video platform that is desperately trying to shake off its ‘Chinese’ image, now says that it has stopped operations in Honk Kong. A TikTok spokesperson confirmed the move to Axios a few hours earlier. “In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong”, they said.
The move comes days after the Chinese government passed draconian new legislation under the garb of a ‘national security law’ that has largely been panned by human rights activists worldwide. Democracy activists in Hong Kong claim that the law would not only end all freedom of speech in the city, but also jeopardize the digital privacy of its citizens. According to them, the new law forces companies to provide user data to the Chinese government as well as to comply with censorship requests.
Owned by China-based tech company, ByteDance, TikTok has become immensely popular in recent years. However, with major nations like the US and India falling out with China of late, the company is now seeking to distance itself from Beijing. The company is reportedly considering shifting its global headquarters outside China to address concerns expressed by some US lawmakers and security agencies.
Following its ban in India last week, the company’s CEO, Kevin Mayer, also claimed that the company has never handed over data of Indian users to the Chinese government. He further claimed that the company wouldn’t comply with such an order even if Beijing asked for it. The company also promised to set up a data center in India to comply with the country’s data privacy laws.