TikTok halts Hong Kong access after security law
The short video app TikTok has stopped operations in Hong Kong, according to a notice posted on its website.
The company reported the move earlier this week after China imposed a new city security law.
The law has limited freedoms in semi-autonomous territory, raising concerns about the official control of social media.
Other social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are also reviewing operations in Hong Kong.
TikTok has been carefully scrutinized by the United States and other countries because of concerns that user data could share with Chinese authorities.
The app was launched outside of Mainland China by Beijing-based ByteDance to reach a global audience.
Separately, an app spokesperson said on Friday that TikTok could be part of a new corporate structure.
“Considering the best path to follow, ByteDance is considering changes to the corporate structure of its TikTok business,” the spokesman said in an email statement.
It also reiterated previous commitments that ByteDance would refuse to share TikTok users’ data with the Chinese authorities.
“We never gave user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do it if requested.”
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TikTok increased its popularity during global coronavirus blocks with around 315 million people downloading the app in the first three months of this year, according to research firm Sensor Tower.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a member of the Australian parliament recently suggested that the app needs more control over its data and privacy policies because its headquarters are located in China.
Pompeo has banned state department employees from downloading the app and suggested that the app may also be banned in the United States.
However, the company denied that it posed a security risk.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO (former Los Angeles-based Disney executive Kevin Mayer), with hundreds of employees and key leaders in safety, security, products and public policies here in the United States. We have no higher priority promoting a secure app experience for our users, “said a spokesman.