“We are here to stay,” Vanessa Pappas, head of the US branch of TikTok, said on Saturday. President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he would ban the hugely popular social network in his country.
“We have heard your surge of support and we want to say thank you. We have no plans to leave,” she insisted in a video posted on the app, for concerned users. The American platform, which belongs to the Chinese group ByteDance, is suspected by Washington of sharing its data with Beijing, which the company has always firmly denied.
ByteDance has just offered to sell the American branch of TikTok, as encouraged by the United States, according to the New York Times. And several American media ensure that Microsoft is in advanced negotiations to buy it.
Almost a billion users
After weeks of rumors and pressure, the White House said on Friday that the president was about to sign an official order to force ByteDance to part with the American app, in the name of protecting national security.
“Although we do not comment on the speculation, we are confident in the long term success of Tiktok,” responded the group. The entertainment platform – mostly short music videos – has nearly a billion users worldwide. Its popularity has grown further amid the months of pandemic and social distancing.
“We must be vigilant about the risk that private and sensitive data is transferred to abusive governments, including our own,” said Jennifer Granick of the powerful civil rights organization ACLU. “But banning a platform, even if it was legally possible, harms freedom of expression online and does nothing to address the larger problem of unjustified government surveillance,” she added.
Vanessa Pappas said she was “proud” of the 1,500 American employees and the “10,000 additional jobs that we will create in this country over the next three years”. “We are here to stay. Keep your voice heard here and continue to support TikTok!”