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18 Aug, 2020 11:15

TikTok unveils new website aimed at dispelling ‘rumors & misinformation’ spread by Washington

TikTok unveils new website aimed at dispelling ‘rumors & misinformation’ spread by Washington

TikTok has pushed back against continued efforts to exclude it from the US market, rolling out a new website in which it counters Washington’s allegations that it poses a threat to national security.

The popular video-sharing app launched the site, called the ‘Last Sunny Corner of the Internet’, after President Donald Trump gave its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, a 90-day deadline to sell its US assets or face a ban in the country. Earlier in August, Trump signed an executive order barring all US transactions with TikTok and another Chinese-owned app, WeChat. That order, set to go into effect next month, claims that the Chinese apps “threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

On its new website, TikTok said it wanted to “set the record straight,” arguing that Washington and the media have been proliferating “rumors and misinformation” about the app. 

“TikTok has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, nor would it do so if asked. Any insinuation to the contrary is unfounded and blatantly false,” the website says. It added that user data is stored in Virginia, with a back-up in Singapore, and that there are safeguards to ensure user privacy.

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Trump’s executive orders targeting the firm risk “undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law,” the site claims, stressing that such actions set a “dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets.”

Last week TikTok launched a new Twitter account, @tiktok_comms, to respond in real-time to the controversy surrounding the app.

Washington’s attempts to keep the video-sharing app out of the US market has put further strain on deteriorating US-China relations. 

On Monday, Beijing accused the Trump administration of using “digital gunboat diplomacy” to target TikTok. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that despite ByteDance’s attempts at openness and transparency, the company has been “unable to escape the robbery through trickery undertaken by some people in the US based on bandit logic and political self-interest.”

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