The Tik Tok social media app said it would leave Hong Kong after China imposed a new security law on the city. A spokesman for the company told BBC: “In light of recent events, we have decided to stop the operations of the application of Tik Tok in Hong Kong.” The company’s exit from the city will start “within days,” according to Reuters news agency. Facebook and Twitter had said this week that they would “freeze” cooperating with Hong Kong police on user information for their sites. The short video app, which was founded by China-based Bait Dance, was launched for users outside of China, as part of a worldwide user development strategy.
The technology company operates a similar application for sharing short videos in China, known as Dowin. Tik Tok, which is managed by former Walt Disney CEO, Kevin Meyer, said the app user data is not kept in China. The company also previously said that it will not comply with any requests from the Chinese government to monitor content, will not allow access to user information, and it has never received a request to do so. But Hong Kong’s controversial new national security law gave the Chinese government new sweeping powers, raising concerns about data privacy. The law punishes with life imprisonment anyone who engages in what China generally describes as calling for secession, sabotage, and collusion with foreign powers.
Critics say the law destroys freedoms in Hong Kong as a semi-autonomous region, including freedom of expression. Facebook, Twitter, Google, WhatsApp and Telegram announced this week changes in their operations in Hong Kong after the new law came into effect last week. Technology companies have said they will not decide on any data requests from Hong Kong police while she assesses the ongoing political changes in the city.