HONG KONG (AP) — TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer surrendered Thursday over U.S. pressure for its Chinese proprietor to sell the famous video app, which the White House says is a security risk.
In a letter to workers, Mayer said that his choice to leave comes after the “world of politics has strongly changed.”
His resignation follows President Donald Trump’s order to ban TikTok except if its parent organization, ByteDance, sells its U.S. activities to an American organization within 90 days.
“I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” he said in the letter. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.”
Bytedance is presently in converses with Microsoft for the U.S. firm to purchase TikTok’s U.S. tasks. operations.
Mayer, a previous Disney leader, joined TikTok as CEO in May.
TikTok expressed gratitude toward Mayer.
“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision,” the company said in a statement.
ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.
TikTok gained immense popularity via its fun, goofy videos and ease of use, and has hundreds of millions of users globally.
But its Chinese ownership has raised concerns about potential censorship of videos, including those critical of the Chinese government, and the risk Beijing may access user data.
Earlier this month, Trump ordered a sweeping but unspecified ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of consumer apps TikTok and WeChat as the U.S. heightens scrutiny of Chinese technology companies,
Recently, Trump requested a general however undefined prohibition on dealings with the Chinese proprietors of buyer applications TikTok and WeChat as the U.S. elevates investigation of Chinese technology organizations, citing concerns that they may pose a threat to national security.