Why short-form video app TikTok just had the week from hell
It was a week to forget for executives at short-form video app TikTok.
The Chinese-owned platform is under attack from every direction and all corners of the globe over genuine privacy concerns related to its owner ByteDance.
Rival tech giants YouTube and Facebook are both trialling new products in a bid to slow the exponential growth of TikTok and maintain their market dominance.
Some government and security officials in the US and Australia are ordering for a review of the app, with some pollies even calling for the app to be banned altogether.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday his administration is “looking at” banning the app, affirming remarks on Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In Australia, plans are underway to bring TikTok before the Foreign Interference through Social Media senate inquiry, according to the Herald Sun.
ByteDance said it could lose US$6 billion after India took the bold step to ban the app this week – along with 58 other Chinese-owned apps – following tensions between the nations.
TikTok also said on Wednesday that it will quit Hong Kong “within days” after China imposed a new security law on the city, which gives Chinese authorities sweeping new powers.
Even an activist group associated with Anonymous – the “hacktivist collective” known for its various cyber attacks – turned their attention to the fast-growing social network.
“Delete TikTok now,” Anonymous said. “If you know someone that is using it, explain to them it is essentially malware operated by the Chinese government running a massive spying operation.”
ByteDance is now thinking about moving their headquarters or installing a new board to distance the service from the country, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A spokesperson told TMN that TikTok doesn’t share information collected from Australian users with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government.
“We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” TikTok Australia’s new general manager, Lee Hunter, said in a statement this week.
“We always welcome the opportunity to meet with policymakers to talk about TikTok, including the steps we’re taking to make it an even safer and more creative place.”
As reported by TMN, TikTok launched an Australian office last month with two key hires, Lee Hunter and Brett Armstrong, tasked with monetising the platform locally.
TikTok also advertised for a “rock star” head of music based in Sydney, “to support the TikTok music strategy and drive the success of Australian music on the platform”.