TikTok said Saturday it has no plans to leave the U.S.
Of course it may not be totally up to the company after President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he intended to ban the uber-popular short-form video app. It’s not clear if he has the power to do so, especially if a rumored TikTok sale comes to pass.
Still, TikTok’s U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas posted a video Saturday saying the platform didn’t intend to disappear from the states.
“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Pappas said in the video. “TikTok is a home for creators and artists to express themselves, their ideas, and connect with people across different backgrounds.”
Pappas also pointed out in the video that TikTok employs 1,500 Americans, plans to bring in 10,000 more jobs, and has a $1 billion fund for creators on the app.
Reached for comment by Mashable, a TikTok spokesperson pointed to some of the same stats while not directly challenging Trump’s potential ban.
“While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform. We’re motivated by their passion and creativity, and committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
Without really providing details on when or how he’d do it, Trump said he intended to ban TikTok on Friday after toying with the idea for weeks.
“As far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States,” he told reporters on Air Force One.
Trump and others have expressed concern over the fact that TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company, claiming that represents a security threat. The idea is that the Chinese government could compel the company to hand over user data.
Still, some experts had said concerns over user data isn’t unique to Chinese apps.
“They’re fundamental problems in how we consume information and how information is exchanged,” Serge Egelman, who oversees research about security and privacy at University of California, Berkeley, told CNET in a story published Friday. “What TikTok is doing isn’t particularly new or novel, but it’s pretty much how most apps collect data and monetize themselves.”
TikTok, for its part, said its U.S. user data is “stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access.”
Lots remains to be seen — like if Trump will actually pull the trigger on a ban since his promises are often flaky. Reuters also reported on Saturday that ByteDance was closing-in on a deal that would sell all of its U.S. business to Microsoft.