The news came on the heels of TikTok’s move to sue the U.S. government over its forthcoming ban. The app, owned by Chinese internet upstart ByteDance, is caught in tensions between Beijing and Washington, which accuses the app of posing a national security threat to the U.S.
TikTok had racked up over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone, according to a recent court filing. Globally, its MAU was close to 700 million as of July.
“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. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well,” said a TikTok spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch.
The New York Times reported earlier that Mayer announced his decision to step down in a note to employees as TikTok came under pressure from the Trump administration over its links to China. Mayer “did not anticipate the extent to which TikTok would become involved in tensions between China and the U.S.,” sources told the Financial Times, and the executive “didn’t sign up for this.”
Vanessa Pappas, currently general manager of TikTok, will reportedly become the interim head.
The looming TikTok sale has attracted investor interest across the board, from Microsoft which publicly announced its intention, through to the less expected bidder Oracle. As of July, investors were reportedly valuing TikTok at $50 billion, and shedding the prized video app would for sure be a blow to ByteDance’s valuation.