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Friday, September 18, 2020

TikTok responds to Trump’s threat: ‘We’re here for the long run’

TikTok shot back Saturday after President Trump said the Chinese-owned social media service would be banned in the U.S.

“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” said Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s general manager. “We’re here for the long run,” she said in a video statement.

Mr. Trump told reporters late Friday he planned to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S., potentially shutting out millions of Americans who use the social media service to share videos.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Air Force One, adding that an announcement on the matter would be made as soon as this weekend.

TikTok fired back in a statement early Saturday that said 100 million Americans use TikTok “for entertainment and connection,” including content creators “who are building livelihoods from our platform.”

Ms. Pappas, who previously served as YouTube’s global head of creative insights, added that TikTok also currently employs 1,500 people in the U.S. and plans to hire 10,000 more in the next three years.

TikTok was launched in 2016 by ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company, and has been downloaded upwards of 2 billion times in the following few years.

The app’s growing popularity has been accompanied by a spike in security concerns that have resulted in several U.S. federal agencies prohibiting employees from installing it on government-issued devices.

Sens. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, asked the Department of Justice on Thursday to investigate whether TikTok’s connections to China “pose a risk to Americans.”

A number of outlets subsequently reported Friday that Microsoft was considering buying TikTok from its Chinese parent company. Mr. Trump said he opposes that potential deal, however, NBC News reported.


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