TikTok is under fire from Hong Kong to US, days after ban in India

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  • Days after being banned in India, TikTok is now pulling out of Hong Kong and could be banned in the US, one of its biggest markets.
  • While TikTok has not been banned in Hong Kong yet, it is pulling out of the market voluntarily citing ‘recent events’, days after the Chinese government fast-tracked the controversial national security law.
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US is considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps ‘very seriously’.
  • TikTok had 150,000 users in Hong Kong and 37.2 million users in the US in 2019.
  • Check out the latest news and updates on Business Insider.
Days after being banned in India, Chinese video sharing app TikTok is pulling out of Hong Kong and may lose another big market for the app after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the country is considering banning the app.

While TikTok has not been banned in Hong Kong yet, the ByteDance-owned app cited ‘recent events’ to justify its decision to pull out of the market.

TikTok has been under fire in several countries, including the US, India and Australia as well for its ties to China and concerns over user data being handed over to Chinese intelligence agencies.


Troubles mounting for TikTok in several markets

TikTok is all set to exit Hong Kong after the new national security laws were enforced by China that grant it expanded powers in the region. "In light of recent events, we've decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong," a TikTok spokesperson told Axios.

TikTok is not the only social media company that has reacted to the controversial national security law. Facebook, Google, Twitter, WhatsApp and Telegram have announced that they will temporarily not process official requests from Hong Kong for user data.

In September last year, TikTok said that it had 150,000 users in the city.

US considering banning TikTok and Chinese apps ‘very seriously’

In the US, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the government is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps such as TikTok during an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. He added that "we're taking this very seriously."

"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura," he said. “I don't want to get out in front of the President, but it's something we're looking at.”

There were 37.2 million TikTok users in the US in 2019, according to a report by The Verge.

Australian lawmakers want to question TikTok


TikTok has come under scrutiny in Australia too, where it established its office last month and has 1.6 million users. An unnamed Australian lawmaker has called for a ban on the app, while others want to question the app’s management.

“There have been credible reports that TikTok takes more data than its users would expect, and moderates content for reasons that its users may not be comfortable with,” Senator Jenny McAllister, chair of the Select Committee on Foreign Interference Through Social Media, said in a statement.

“I think Australians would expect that TikTok and other platforms will appear before the Senate committee to answer questions,” he further added.


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