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ByteDance Pulls Most of Its TikTok Traffic From Fastly Network

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·3 min read
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(Bloomberg) -- ByteDance Ltd. pulled most of its TikTok traffic from the network of Fastly Inc., suggesting a crackdown by the Trump administration is forcing the Chinese technology giant to change its operations.

Fastly runs a content delivery network that pushes data quickly around the internet so businesses can help consumers shop online or watch videos on apps and websites. ByteDance has used this service to deliver videos on its wildly popular TikTok app, making the Chinese company Fastly’s largest customer.

San Francisco-based Fastly said on Wednesday that ByteDance “removed a majority of their U.S. and non-U.S. traffic from our platform” by the end of the third quarter.

“Based on publicly available information, we believe this global traffic reduction was in response to the potential of a prohibition of U.S. companies being able to work with this customer,” Fastly added in a shareholder letter.

TikTok has become embroiled in a political standoff between the U.S. and China and President Donald Trump has threatened to ban the app if it doesn’t work out a deal to be sold to a U.S. company. Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. have agreed to take a stake in a reorganized TikTok, but ByteDance is still working out the details.

“We intend to fully support this customer unless and until we are prohibited from doing so,” Fastly Chief Executive Officer Joshua Bixby wrote in the letter to shareholders. “We are prepared to accept additional traffic from this customer if conditions enable it to return. However, if it becomes clear that we should no longer support this customer, we believe the reserved capacity for this customer can be reallocated over the medium- and long-term.”

During a conference call with analysts, Bixby added that any ban of the TikTok app by the U.S. “would create uncertainty around our ability to support this customer.”

Fastly reported results on Wednesday, too. The cloud-technology provider said it will lose 8 cents to 12 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $80 million to $84 million. Wall Street was looking for a loss of 2 cents a share and sales of $82.3 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company also said it generated 42% year-over-year revenue growth in the third quarter and experienced the second highest quarter of new customer additions in its history as a public company. “Our underlying business remains strong,” Bixby wrote.

Fastly stock rose about 1% in extended trading, after closing at $71.61 in New York earlier on Wednesday.

The company surprised Wall Street about two weeks ago by cutting its revenue forecast for the third quarter and noting that ByteDance was spending less on its services. Fastly shares have soared this year, but when the company cut its outlook, the stock plummeted 27%. It’s is still up more than threefold since January.

Read more: Fastly Delivers a Harsh Lesson on Software’s Valuation Excesses

(Updates with comments about ByteDance throughout)

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