Technology

TikTok to exit Hong Kong over new China laws

TikTok to exit Hong Kong over new China laws
TikTok will quit Hong Kong in days because of sweeping new laws passed by the Communist Party in China.
Other tech companies, including Facebook, have suspended processing government requests for user data in the region.
"In light of recent events, we've decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong," a TikTok spokesman told Reuters.
A pro-China supporter holds a Chinese national flag during a rally to celebrate the approval of a national security law for Hong Kong, in Hong Kong (AP / Kin Cheung)
TikTok has previously stated it would not comply with any requests made by the Chinese government to censor content or for access to TikTok's user data, and denied any such request had ever been lodged.
Globally, TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times.
The latest development comes one day after concerns were raised in Australia over TikTok and its potential use for espionage.
General manager for TikTok Australia Lee Hunter has downplayed suggestions the app put Australian users or national security at risk.
"TikTok does not share information of our users in Australia with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government, and would not do so if asked. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity," he told nine.com.au in a statement.
The United States is "looking at" banning TikTok and Chinese social media apps, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Mr Pompeo on Monday suggested the possible move during an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, adding that "we're taking this very seriously".
"With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too," he said, replying to a question about a possible TikTok ban.
"I don't want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it's something we're looking at."
Washington's top diplomat added that people should only download the app "if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."
Last week India banned TikTok, as part of a sweeping shutdown of Chinese apps in the country.
US President Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the 2019 G-20 summit in Osaka. (AP / Susan Walsh)

What is TikTok?

TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, especially among teenagers and young adults across the world.
The video-sharing platform was launched in Beijing as Douyin in 2012, but was renamed for its worldwide release several years ago.
The app has more than a billion users worldwide.
While TikTok is not directly owned by the Chinese government, it does enforce strict controls on what can be shown on the app.
Read more:Why parents should be wary of TikTok
Read more:TikTok launches parental controls
Content about human rights in China, the Hong Kong protests and Chinese concentration camps for religious minorities are blocked on the app.
TikTok also blocks LGBT-related content in many countries, including videos showing same-sex couples holding hands.