TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns just weeks before the deadline to ban the app in the US.
In the midst of a legal battle between TikTok and the Trump administration, the company’s CEO, Kevin Mayer, has resigned effective immediately. This comes just weeks before the deadline US President Donald Trump set to ban TikTok in the US.
A Shift in Power at TikTok
TikTok is facing an overwhelming amount of pressure from US President Donald Trump, who claims that the Chinese-owned app is a national security threat. Trump ordered TikTok to either sell its US assets by September 15th, 2020, or get banned in the US. Since then, tech giants Oracle and Microsoft have been in talks to purchase the app.
TikTok also filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in response to Trump’s executive order. The company argues that it was denied due process.
All of the legal issues surrounding TikTok contributed to Mayer’s resignation. In an internal letter to TikTok employees, Mayer announced his departure, stating:
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. 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.
Now that Mayer has officially left the company, TikTok has assigned Vanessa Pappas as the interim CEO. Pappas previously worked as TikTok’s general manager.
Despite the shift in power, Mayer doesn’t believe things will change much for the millions of users on TikTok. At the end of the letter, Mayer writes that “potential structural changes should not affect their [the users’] experience.”
What’s Next for TikTok?
With TikTok racing to sell off its US assets, Mayer’s resignation couldn’t come at a worse time. TikTok must now scramble to reach a deal before Trump’s deadline, while simultaneously tackling legal issues.
In order to gain back the trust of its users, TikTok will really have to prove that its reputation as a national security threat is misplaced.
TikTok security breaches can cause havoc for users. But Chinese ownership makes the social network an even greater security risk.