Kevin Mayer, TikTok CEO, announced that he’ll be stepping down after only three months on the job. On Wednesday, Mayer resigned in a letter he sent to TikTok employees.
The White House put pressure on the social media platform to sell the company due to its links to China. President Donald Trump influenced Mayer’s decision by wanting the company to sell to a U.S.-based business. Also, he threatened to ban TikTok within 90 days if the company did not comply.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, 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,” Mayer stated in his resignation 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.”
“I want to be clear that this decision has nothing to do with the company, what I see for our future, or the belief I have in what we are building. As we look to the next phase of this company, there is no doubt that the future is incredibly bright,” said Mayer in his letter. “For our users, any potential structural changes should not affect their experience, and I strongly believe that our community will be more creative and diverse than ever. The platform will continue to provide our global community an amazing and integrated experience as it does today. Similarly, from an employee perspective, I believe that the vast majority of work will be unchanged.”
Mayer took the position with TikTok after quitting his job as Disney’s head of streaming services.
TikTok vs. Donald Trump
On Aug. 6, Trump issued an executive order that will ban business done with ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok. He stated that national security concerns merited the orders. His concerns stem from ByteDance collecting Americans’ user data. Therefore Trump worries that the data can be used by China’s ruling Communist party against U.S. interests.
The executive order could go into effect in early November. Consequently, this would force Apple and Google to get rid of TikTok in each of their app stores. In fact, that would essentially ban the app throughout the western world.
However, TikTok is defending itself by filing a lawsuit that asks a judge to bar the executive order. The lawsuit declares that the U.S. government didn’t allow the company to answer to the national security concerns. The company has continuously stated that user data is not shared with the Chinese government.