TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew revealed in a TikTok video that the video app now has more than 150 million users in the US, up from 100 million in 2020, before his appearance before Congress on Thursday. Also, he claimed that more than 5 million businesses in the nation host videos on TikTok.
Chew used these figures to show how the app is a significant component of American society amid discussions of outlawing the ByteDance-owned app due to national security concerns as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to escalate.
In the video, he said, “That’s almost half of the United States going to TikTok to connect, to share, to learn, or simply to have some fun.”
The executive also urged TikTok users to support the app by telling their elected officials what they appreciated about it in the video. These remarks could be used as evidence by the firm to demonstrate TikTok’s popularity.
“Later this week, I’ll testify before Congress to discuss all we’re doing to safeguard Americans who use the app,” Chew said.
The CEO of the app will be questioned by the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding the app’s privacy policies and child protection measures.
“Americans want to know how ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with China affects their privacy and how their data is used. What’s worse is that we are aware of the terrible algorithms big tech companies like TikTok use to hurt children and expose them to hazardous online content. We must be aware of the steps the corporation is taking to protect our children from risks both online and offline, the Committee stated in a press release last week.
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a bill earlier this month that may grant the Biden administration the authority to outlaw the app. According to sources, the government is pressuring ByteDance to sell TikTok or face an embargo because of its ties to China, which raises concerns about user data being given to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have recently started looking into TikTok after certain staff members were allegedly caught using the app to spy on American journalists.
An independent audit by Oracle and invitations to the press and regulators to visit its recently built Transparency Center in Los Angeles are just a few of the steps TikTok took as part of a charm drive that cost the company about $1.5 billion. The corporation also launched “Project Texas,” which tries to allay legislators’ worries and demonstrate that the U.S. business is open and distinct from operations in China.
In the UK, EU, Canada, and New Zealand, TikTok is no longer allowed on official government equipment. This is similar to the rules in the US.
In addition, TikTok today disclosed changes to its community guidelines, including additional rules regarding the use of AI in content and false information about the climate. According to the new regulations, accounts must make it apparent when AI is being used in videos.