The US general manager of TikTok said that the Chinese-owned video sharing app “is here in the long run,” after President Donald Trump said he would ban it in the United States.
Vanessa Papas told TikTok users in a video statement that her employees were building “the most secure app”.
Trump said he could sign an executive order early Saturday, amid concerns that the app could be used to collect personal data for Americans.
TikTok denies any Chinese control.
The fast-growing app contains up to 80 million monthly active users in the U.S. The ban will be a big hit for its Chinese ByteDance.
It was not immediately clear what Trump’s authority to ban TikTok would be, how it would be enforced and what legal challenges he would face.
But Reuters news agency reported on Saturday that ByteDance had agreed to completely strip US TikTok operations. Previously, the Chinese company had sought to retain a minority stake, and Microsoft is said to be in talks to purchase the app.
The move to ban TikTok comes at a time of heightened tensions between the Trump administration and the Chinese government on a number of issues, including trade disputes and Beijing’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak.
What did Mrs. Papas say?
The general manager of the American TikTok company said that the company heard the “flow of support” for the application and thanked the “millions of Americans” who use it every day.
“We are not planning to go anywhere,” she said.
And to address data security concerns, she said TikTok is acting responsibly.
“When it comes to safety and security, we are building the safest application, because we know it is the right thing to do,” she said.
“We’re here for the long haul, keep sharing your voice here and let’s stand up with TikTok.”
What is TikTok?
The platform has exploded in popularity in recent years, mostly with people under the age of 20.
They use the app to share 15-second videos that often include lip syncing with songs, comedy routines and unusual editing tricks.
These videos are then provided to both followers and strangers. By default, all accounts are public, although users can limit uploads to the approved contact list.
TikTok also allows private messages but this attachment is limited to “friends.”
The app is said to have about 800 million monthly active users, mostly in the United States and India.
India has already banned TikTok as well as other Chinese apps. Australia, which has already banned Huawei and telecoms equipment maker ZTE, is considering banning TikTok.
Why Trump hates TikTok
Analysis by James Clayton, BBC technology correspondent for North America
Trump’s hatred of TikTok goes beyond just privacy concerns.
In India, TikTok was banned after border skirmishes with China – it occurred in a geopolitical dispute. This is what happened here as well. Trump’s eyes are heavily on China – and this must be seen with that lens.
TikTok says it does not keep any data in China and will never provide it to China.
However, in many ways, it doesn’t matter what they say, and the fact that they are owned by a Chinese company is guilty enough.
Also not to be ignored is Trump’s previous experience with TikTok.
Last month, users claimed to have spoiled the Tulsa march after signing tickets they had no intention of using.
Although there are Republican and conservative voices on TikTok, the user profile for US users is generally young and liberal / left-wing.
It is hard to believe that this is not a factor here.
Why is the United States concerned about TikTok?
US officials and politicians have raised concerns that the data collected by ByteDance via TikTok may be passed on to the Chinese government.
TikTok is working on a similar but separate version of the app in China, known as Douyin. It says that all US user data is stored in the U.S., with a backup in Singapore.
- TikTok has sent US user data to China, as it claims the lawsuit
- TikTok: We are not “under the thumb” of China
TikTok this week notified users and regulators that it would adhere to a high level of transparency, including allowing its algorithms to be reviewed.
“We are not politicians, we do not accept political ads and we do not have an agenda – our only goal is to remain a dynamic and dynamic platform for everyone to enjoy.” TikTok CEO, Kevin Meyer, said in a post this week.
“TikTok has become the last target, but we are not the enemy.”