ByteDance’s TikTok has decided to withdraw its services from Hong Kong following a rising upper hand of Beijing over the country. The move comes in the wake of a new sweeping national security law for the already semi-autonomous city.
“In light of recent events, we have decided to stop the operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong” a spokesperson for TikTok had to say in response to a query from Reuters blog. Hong Kong has decided to uphold China’s Draconian law. This gives Beijing a supreme hand over the censorship of content in Hong Kong.
A probable spark for a bigger outrage
This decision comes when companies like Google, Facebook have also suspended processing government requests for user data in the region.
Additionally, companies like Twitter Inc. have also raised concerns against the national security legislation. The legislation that grants the Hong Kong government extreme supremacy over the existential control on online and public spheres.
TikTok which is headed by former Walt Disney Co executive Kevin Mayer has made a similar decision. The platform has said that it doesn’t store any data in China. This is because the company has already faced allegations on aligning the content with Beijing’s priorities. Reports said that it targeted videos related to Pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong. In addition to the mistreatment of Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region and more.
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Struggling to safeguard the company’s vision
However, the company has repeatedly said that it would not comply with any requests by the Chinese Government. Hence request to censor content or provide access to the users’ data would not be entertained. Bytedance, which operates a similar short video platform both in China as Douyin and overseas as TikTok, is struggling to catch grounds recently despite getting a lot of attention.
The reason is the repeated accusations of U.S and Indian governments citing data theft and security reasons. With the recent Indian Government ban, the company is already the verge of losing one of the biggest markets in the world.
Recent analytics by Sensor Tower showed the app had over 2 Billion downloads globally. It further said that it had close to 150,000 downloads in Hong Kong.
Though the number is not as big, a potential future in Hong Kong also now looks in jeopardy. With the latest security law that forces companies to provide data to the Chinese Government, TikTok will all but pull out from the country.