TikTok mulling substantial changes to distance itself from China
Amid criticism from several quarters, the loudest from the United States and India, short-video platform TikTok is mulling changes in its corporate set up to distance itself from its parent company's Chinese links, reports said on Friday.
The hugely popular app is owned by ByteDance, a company headquartered in Beijing.
For long now, US politicians have raised concerns over data accessed by TikTok.
Earlier, Mike Pompeo said US looking at banning TikTok
This week, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said the administration was seriously thinking about banning the app.
Last month, TikTok lost its biggest market as India banned the app, along with 58 others, to protect sovereignty. The decision was taken in the wake of Indo-China tensions.
ByteDance-owned Vigo Video and Helo were also banned. This could cost the parent company nearly $6 billion
Trump also hinted at app ban "in response" to coronavirus
Putting a stamp of approval on Pompeo's remarks, US President Donald Trump also said a ban is likely. "It's a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they've done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful," he added.
Trade Commission and Justice Department also slammed TikTok
In fact, earlier this week, the US Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department slammed TikTok over data concerns.
It was alleged in May that the app collected information about kids, who are younger than 13, without their parents' permission. By doing so, TikTok violated privacy law and a settlement of FTC.
The company has repeatedly claimed it doesn't pose any kind of threat.
Headquarters outside China on TikTok's mind
Faced with mounting criticism, ByteDance is looking to establish its headquarters outside China. TikTok already has five large offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Dublin, and Singapore.
A major rejig in management is also in offing, reports said.
"As we consider the best path forward, ByteDance is evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its TikTok business," a spokesperson told CNN.
Company said it's committed to protecting users' privacy
"We remain fully committed to protecting our users' privacy and security as we build a platform that inspires creativity and brings joy for hundreds of millions of people around the world. We will move forward in the best interest of our users," the person added.
Some changes have already been made by TikTok
Notably, the company has already undergone a series of changes to show it is serious about moving away from its Chinese roots. Earlier this year, Kevin Mayer, a former Walt Disney Co. executive, was made the Chief Executive Officer. He took over the charge from Alex Zhu, who is based in China.
Separately, TikTok is also looking at hiring more officials in Washington.