TikTok’s head of trust and security for the US, Eric Han, is leaving the company on May 12, according to two people familiar with the matter and an internal memo to employees I saw.
His departure comes as TikTok is still trying to strike a deal to avoid a ban by the US government. Han has been leading TikTok security teams in the US for several years, and in December he was named head of trust and security for TikTok US Data Security (USDS), a separate entity created to convince the government that the app is not should do. get banned.
In the memo to employees announcing his departure, Andy Bonillo, interim general manager of USDS, said he will “head USDS T&S on an interim basis” until “we identify Eric’s longer-term replacement.” Bonillo’s title already says “interim” because the US government has yet to approve TikTok’s USDS proposal and would ultimately have the final say on who controls it. (I’ve reached out to TikTok’s communications department for comment and will update this story if I hear back.)
“Over the past four years, Eric has helped protect our American community during an incredible growth phase,” Bonillo said in the memo. “We remain committed to delivering on our commitments to the TikTok community – both in the US and around the world – while continuing to invest in trust and safety as a cornerstone of those efforts.”
The fate of TikTok in the US feels as uncertain as ever right now, with states like Montana trying to ban the app and the bipartisan RESTRICT Act making its way through Congress. The Biden administration has issued smoke signals indicating that TikTok’s USDS proposal is not enough to allay national security concerns and that it will likely demand a full divestment of TikTok from Chinese parent company ByteDance. The Chinese government clearly doesn’t like that idea, which, as the saying goes, puts TikTok between a rock and a hard place.