TikTok ban: Popular Chinese social media app DISCONTINUED in Hong Kong due to security law

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Earlier this week, the short-video app came under scrutiny from US President Donald Trump over concerns it could be sharing user data with Chinese authorities. The app was launched by Beijing-based ByteDance in order to reach a global audience.

At the end of June, the Chinese government pushed through new security legislation in the former British colony which has sparked protests and discussions around the globe.

Now, the Chinese-made app has halted operations in Hong Kong after calls to ban TikTok have erupted in the West.

A notice posted on the website read: “We regret to inform you that we have discontinued operating TikTok in Hong Kong.”

A spokesman for the app said TikTok may return to Hong Kong under a new business structure.

They said in a statement: “As we consider the best path forward, ByteDance is evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its TikTok business.

“We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

A number of other social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter are also reviewing operations in Hong Kong, the BBC reported.

Since nations started implementing lockdowns due to coronavirus, TikTok has grown in popularity with around 315 million people downloading the app in the first three months of the year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this week he is planning to ban the Chinese-made media app along with almost 60 others.

Speaking to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Mr Pompeo said: “We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether its the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure – we’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out – we had declared ZTE a danger to American national security.

“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too.”

Mr Trump and Mr Pompeo have continued to attack the Communist nation during the outbreak of the coronavirus causing the relationship between the two nations to become strained.

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Last month, Mr Pompeo accused China of “coercive bullying tactics” towards the UK in wake on the Huawei network tensions.

UK Government officials were believed to have been drawing up plans to remove the Chinese-controlled mobile phone network.

Mr Pompeo said: “The United States stands with our allies and partners against the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive bullying tactics.

“In the latest example, Beijing has reportedly threatened to punish British bank HSBC and to break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom unless London allows Huawei to build its 5G networks.

“Beijing’s aggressive behaviour shows why countries should avoid economic over-reliance on China and should guard their critical infrastructure from CCP influence.”

Talks of banning TikTok and halting operations in Hong Kong come just days after the Indian government also banned the app and other Chinese-made social media platforms.

A spokesman for New Delhi said in a statement: “The apps are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

At least 60 Chinese apps have since been banned which triggered calls for similar action in the US and Australia.

India’s ban comes as tensions between the nations have escalated following the bloody conflict in the Galwan Valley, in Ladakh.

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