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TikTok has stepped up its defence against US accusations that the popular video app is a national security threat, denouncing what it called “rumors and misinformation” about its links to the Chinese government.
The video-snippet sharing service launched an online information hub on Monday after President Donald Trump gave its Chinese parent firm a 90-day deadline to divest TikTok before the app is banned in the United States.
A previous executive order, prohibiting US entities from doing business with TikTok, will take effect 45 days after August 6.
On a web page titled “The Last Sunny Corner of the Internet”, TikTok maintained it was setting the record straight about the platform.
“TikTok has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, nor would it do so if asked,” the company said in the post.
“Any insinuation to the contrary is unfounded and blatantly false.”
American user data is stored in the US, with a backup in Singapore, according to TikTok.
The company, owned by China-based ByteDance, also launched a new @tiktok_comms Twitter account to address issues in real time.
‘Digital gunboat diplomacy’
As tensions soar between the world’s two biggest economies, Trump has claimed TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage.
The US leader early this month also ordered a ban on the messaging app WeChat, which is used extensively in China.
On Friday, Trump signed a separate executive order for ByteDance to sell its interest in Musical.ly, the app it bought and merged with TikTok in 2017, citing national security.
TikTok said the US action “risks undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth”.
On Monday, China slammed Washington for using “digital gunboat diplomacy” in the TikTok case.
Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said TikTok had done everything required by the US, including hiring Americans as its top executives, hosting its servers in the US and making public its source code.
But the app has been “unable to escape the robbery through trickery undertaken by some people in the US based on bandit logic and political self-interest”, Zhao said at a regular press conference.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)