TikTok starts website to take on rumours, misinformation

The move came just days after Trump formally ordered TikTok's owner to sell its US assets amid allegations of national security concerns. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - TikTok said Monday (Aug 17) that it started a website and Twitter account to address what it called rumours in real time, adding that "we neither support nor stand for the spread of misinformation" on or about its platform.

"Let us set the record straight," the company said on the website. "TikTok is not available in China. Its US user data is stored in Virginia with a back-up in Singapore and strict controls on employee access. TikTok has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, nor would it do so if asked."

The move came just days after US President Donald Trump formally ordered TikTok's Chinese owner to sell its US assets amid allegations of national security concerns.

Microsoft has been in talks with ByteDance to buy the company's operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with a Sept 15 deadline for a deal.

Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Monday Trump has looked at banning additional Chinese-owned companies following his decision to ban the short-video app.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Meadows said the administration was focused particularly on Chinese companies that collected personal data and could pose a national security risk.

"Most of what the president has looked at is banning other Chinese apps that might collect personal information and have potential national security risk," he said.

On Saturday, Trump said he could exert pressure on more Chinese companies such as technology giant Alibaba.

Trump, who has made changing the US-China trade relationship a central theme of his presidency, has been sharply critical of Chinese-owned companies over national security concerns.

Under a Chinese law introduced in 2017, companies have an obligation to support and cooperate in China's national intelligence work.

The Trump administration has also ordered TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance to divest its US operations within 90 days.

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