Bytdance’s Tik Tok has decided to pull out its viral video app from Hong Kong’s mobile phones in the coming days, becoming the first social media app to withdraw its services after China’s new draconian national security law came out.
The announcement came after internet giants like Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. voiced their discontentment for national security laws that grant the Hong Kong government sweeping powers over online and public spheres.
However, the move also suggests that its retreat could benefit the Communist Party of China, as pro-democracy protesters now cannot use the viral app to post videos of protests; calling out people to fight for an independent Hong Kong.
Even though several countries, including the USA have accused Tik Tok and other Chinese apps of private data theft and connections with Beijing government, Tik Tok has made statements insisting that it operates independent of Beijing, despite its Chinese ownership.
The move to walk away from Hong Kong can also be considered a strategy to escape sharing user data with the Chinese government, thereby improving its tarnished image.