TikTok has said it’ll quit the Hong Kong market after China imposed a replacement security law on the town.
“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to prevent operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a spokesman told the BBC.
The company’s exit from the town will come “within days,” consistent with the Reuters press agency.
Facebook and Twitter said in the week they were “pausing” co-operation with Hong Kong police over user information.
The short-form video app was launched by China-based ByteDance for users outside China as a part of a technique to grow its global audience.
The tech company operates an identical short video sharing app in China called Douyin.
TikTok, now travel by former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, has said within the past that the app’s user data isn’t stored in China.
The company has also said previously that it might not suits any Chinese government requests to censor content or give access to its users’ data, nor has it ever been asked to try to so.
However, the controversial national security law in Hong Kong has given the city’s authorities sweeping new powers, raising concerns about data privacy.
The legislation punishes what China describes broadly as secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life in prison.
Critics say it erodes Hong Kong’s freedoms as a semi-autonomous region, including freedom of speech.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, and Telegram have all announced in the week that they’re also making changes to their operations in Hong Kong after the new security law came into force last week.
The tech firms have said they’re not processing data requests from the Hong Kong police while they assess the continued political changes within the city.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam defended the national security law imposed by Beijing saying it had been not “doom and gloom” for the town.
Ms. Lam said the law would restore Hong Kong’s status together of the safest cities within the world after pro-democracy protests last year often turned violent.
“Compared with the national security laws of other countries, it’s a rather mild law. Its scope isn’t as broad as that in other countries and even China,” she said.
The legislation has been heavily criticized globally for undermining freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreed as a part of the previous British colony’s return to Chinese rule out 1997.
Also on Tuesday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the US is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
“I don’t need to urge call in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re watching,” Mr. Pompeo said.
Source: bbc news