TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has in a TikTok video announced that the video app now has more than 150 million users in the US which is a significant increase from 100 million in 2020. He also mentioned that TikTok hosts more than 5 million businesses in the country. This announcement comes ahead of his testimony before Congress on Thursday.
In the midst of discussions about banning the ByteDance-owned app due to national security concerns as tensions between the United States and China continue to rise, Chew cited these figures to demonstrate how important the app is to American culture.
“That’s almost half of the U.S. coming to TikTok to connect, to share to learn or just have some fun,” he said in the video.
The executive also used the video to encourage TikTok users to defend the app by telling their elected representatives what they liked about it. The company could use these comments to demonstrate TikTok’s popularity.
“I’ll be testifying before Congress later this week to share all that we’re doing to protect Americans using the app,” Chew said.
The app’s CEO will be grilled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the app’s privacy practices and how it protects children.
“Americans deserve to know the extent to which their privacy is jeopardized and their data is manipulated by ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with China. What’s worse, we know Big Tech companies, like TikTok, use harmful algorithms to exploit children for profit and expose them to dangerous content online. We need to know what actions the company is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms,” the Committee said in a press release issued last week.
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favor of a bill that could give Biden government power to ban the app Earlier this month. Meanwhile, reports indicate that the authorities are putting pressure on ByteDance to sell TikTok or face an embargo because the company’s ties to China make them concerned about user data being passed on to the Chinese Communist Party. (CCP). The FBI and the US Department of Justice have recently begun investigations into TikTok after some employees allegedly used the app to spy on US journalists.
TikTok has spent nearly $1.5 billion on a charm offensive, including an independent audit by Oracle and invitations to the press and regulators to its newly built Transparency Center in Los Angeles. The company also launched “Project Texas,” which aims to address lawmakers’ concerns and demonstrate that the company’s operations in the United States are transparent and distinct from those in China.
In recent weeks, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, and New Zealand have all banned TikTok on various types of official government devices, similar to bans in the United States.
Aside from that, TikTok today announced a revamp of its community guidelines, including new policies on the use of AI in content and climate misinformation. According to the new rules, accounts must clearly disclose the use of AI in videos.