TikTok CEO appeals to US users ahead of House testimony

  • TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew made a direct appeal to the app’s users ahead of what is expected to be a heated grilling in the US House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.
  • Filmed from Washington, D.C., Chew emphasized TikTok users, small and medium-sized businesses, and its own employees in the U.S. who rely on the company.
  • TikTok said last week that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is reviewing risks related to the app and urging ByteDance to sell its shares or face a ban.

TikTok Inc. during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew speaks.

Brian van der Beek | Bloomberg | Good pictures

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew made a direct appeal to the app’s users ahead of what is expected to be a heated grilling in the US House Energy and Commerce Committee this week. Video Released on Tuesday on the platform.

Filmed from Washington, D.C., Chew emphasized TikTok users, small and medium-sized businesses, and its own employees in the U.S. who rely on the company. The news could preview his plea to lawmakers on Thursday, where he will face questions about its Chinese parent company ByteDance and the Chinese government’s ability to access US user data collected by the app.

TikTok says it has tried to develop a risk mitigation plan to ensure that US data does not fall into the hands of foreign adversaries through its use. US user data is already stored outside of China, the company said.

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But when TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, many lawmakers and intelligence officials don’t believe information will be secure. TikTok said last week that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is reviewing risks related to the app and urging ByteDance to sell its shares or face a ban.

Chew revealed in the video that TikTok has more than 150 million monthly active users, or MAUs, in the US, which represents massive growth since August 2020, when it said for the first time that it had about 100 million MAUs in the country. Of that number, 5 million businesses use the app to reach their customers, most of which are small or medium-sized businesses. He added that TikTok has 7,000 US-based employees.

“This comes at a critical moment for us,” Chew said, referring to lawmakers’ threat of a TikTok ban. “It could take TikTok away from your 150 million people.”

Chew directly appealed to users to share in the comments what their representatives would like to know about why they love TikTok.

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