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Kobe makes TikTok account private over security concerns

Zoo animal videos off limits as residents of Japanese city fret over Chinese app

The city of Kobe, in western Japan, said some residents have raised security concerns over its use of Chinese video-sharing app TikTok.    © Reuters

KOBE, Japan -- The western Japanese city of Kobe has made its official TikTok account private amid growing security concerns, Nikkei has learned, in a sign of how the U.S. crackdown on the Chinese owner of the popular video-sharing app is rippling across the world.

The city said it had heard from a number of citizens worried that their personal data might be leaked to the Chinese government, after Washington raised the issue. "Once the concerns have been dispelled, we would like to reopen [the account]. We will continue to monitor the response of the [national] government and other cities," Kobe said.

In May, the city signed a partnership agreement to promote Kobe with the Japanese unit of ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese owner. The goal was to entertain children at home, as the novel coronavirus outbreak made it difficult for people to go out.

The account had posted 31 videos on subjects such as animals at Kobe's Oji Zoo, but none could be publicly viewed as of Wednesday morning. The account had about 545 followers.

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