The executive director of TikTok, Shouzi Chew, expressed his satisfaction last Tuesday for the more than 150 million monthly users of the Chinese social media in the United States, but he also regretted that politicians talk “of banning” the platform. Chew will testify before a congressional committee last Thursday, where he will answer questions from Republicans and Democrats who accuse the app’s owners of having ties to the Communist Party of China.
US authorities and several Western governments accuse TikTok of allowing Beijing access to user data, which the platform has always denied. “Today, I am excited to announce that more than 150 million Americans are on TikTok. That is nearly half of America coming to TikTok to connect, create, share, learn, or just have fun”, Chew, a Singaporean, said in a TikTok post. “Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok”, he lamented.
The executive director assured that he would share with Congress everything they are doing “to protect the Americans who use the application.” TikTok says it has been working with US authorities for more than 2 years to address national security concerns. The time that users in the United States spend on TikTok has surpassed that they spend on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and is close to that they spend on Netflix, according to the market tracker Insider Intelligence.
Chew also mentioned the “5 million businesses” that use TikTok “to communicate with consumers”, and the network’s 7,000 employees in the United States. “Tell me in the comments what you want your elected representatives to know about what you love about TikTok”, he says. It is the first time that Shouzi Chew appears before the United States Congress, but last January he already spoke in Brussels with several high European authorities.
Political pressure against the app has skyrocketed in recent months. The White House prohibited officials from federal institutions from having the application on their smartphones. The European Commission and the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom have made similar decisions. Last Tuesday, the BBC advised its staff to remove TikTok from work phones.
Last week, the US government demanded that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, sell the app or risk being banned in the United States of America.