Speed Reads

the tiktok of destiny

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer steps down, citing 'sharply changed' political environment

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer announced early Thursday that he has stepped down from the company he joined just three months ago. President Trump has threatened to ban TikTok, the short-video social media app owned by China's ByteDance, unless it is sold off to a U.S. company. ByteDance is both suing the Trump administration over the executive order and also talking to Microsoft about a potential sale.

Mayer, who was the head of digital streaming at Walt Disney Co. until he joined TikTok on June 1, alluded to the turmoil he stepped into in a letter to employees. "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," he said. Tech analyst Neil Cybart translates:

TikTok will be led on an interim basis by U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas, Reuters reports. The company thanked Mayer in a statement: "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." Oddly enough, his resignation came on a mysteriously special date for TikTok users, New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz notes:

At the same time, Aug. 27 is still very young, and there's no telling what else could happen before Friday.