TikTok will quit the Hong Kong market within days, while other major technology companies have suspended processing government requests for user data in the city, according to various reports.
Owned by ByteDance, TikTok has decided to exit Hong Kong after the establishment of the new national security law in the city. In a statement, a spokesman for TikTok said: “In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong.” However, the report from Reuters did not unveil more details from TikTok.
CEO Kevin Mayer said previously the app’s user data was not stored in China, and it would not comply with any requests made by the Chinese government to censor content or access TikTok’s user data. He further elaborated the Chinese government had never asked to do so.
Apart from the latest national security law in Hong Kong, TikTok had reportedly attracted 150,000 users in Hong Kong, but it’s a small, yet, loss-making market to the company.
The Hong Kong national security law has also seen international technology companies reconsidering whether to co-operate with the Hong Kong government for providing user information, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google and Telegram.
On Monday, Facebook said it had suspended requests from the Hong Kong government and law enforcement authorities for information on users, as it was waiting for further assessments of the new national security law imposed on Hong Kong by China. It would also conduct formal human rights due diligence, and consultations with human rights experts as well.
“We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” a spokesman of Facebook said.
In an AFP report, Twitter said it had grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of the Hong Kong national security law. It also said the company cared and was committed to protecting the people using its service and their freedom of expression.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp said it “believes in the right for people to have a private conversation online” and “we remain committed to providing private and secure messaging services to our users in Hong Kong”, according to the BBC.