Social networks, 22.03.2023, 10:30 AM
Ahead of his much-anticipated meeting with US lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chu posted on TikTok video message from Washington.
The video’s description states that “the director, on behalf of the entire TikTok team, would like to thank the community of 150 million Americans ahead of his hearing in Congress.”
Chu will speak with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on whether the app, owned by a Chinese company, is a national security issue and should be banned in the US.
In a video message, Chu first praised the growing number of TikTok users in the US – currently there are 150 million monthly active users, which is 50 million more than in the same period in 2020.
“That’s almost half of the United States coming to TikTok, including 5 million businesses that use TikTok to reach their customers, and most of them are small and medium-sized businesses,” Chu said.
After boasting about the numbers, Chu launched an appeal for support from those millions of TikTok users.
“Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok. It could rob TikTok of all 150 million of you,” he said. “Let me know in the comments what you want your elected representatives to know about what you love about TikTok,” Chu said.
US lawmakers have been seeking a ban on the app for months.
Last week, US President Joe Biden ordered ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, to cede 50% ownership in the app to the US company in order for the app to avoid a ban.
Senators Mark Warner, a Democrat, and John Thune, a Republican, presented a bill to the US Congress on March 8. which, if passed, would allow the Commerce Secretary to ban TikTok and other foreign technologies deemed a threat to national security.
The US government, which in December banned TikTok from all government-owned devices, recently gave all employees 30 days, which expires next week, to remove the app from their devices.
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on March 1 to give President Biden the authority to ban the app.
US lawmakers allege that ByteDance has extensive data collection practices that violate Americans’ privacy. Under Chinese law, ByteDance could be forced to hand over the collected data to the Chinese government.
Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the US Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese government could be using TikTok to control the software on millions of devices as well as spread political propaganda to US users.
Chu said that “during his testimony, he will outline everything the company is doing to protect Americans who use the app.”
TikTok rejects accusations of espionage and insists it has never given any data to China’s communist regime, and has spent more than $1.5 billion on rigorous data security measures to appease US lawmakers.
“If protecting national security is the goal, divestment does not solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flow or access,” TikTok said.
However, not everyone in the US agrees with the ban. Some US lawmakers say it’s political pressure. Democrat Jamal Bowman says the ban is “unacceptable,” and that instead of a ban, the US needs comprehensive “big tech regulation” that applies to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other tech companies.
It is interesting that ByteDance owns another application that is very popular in the US, which no one mentions. It’s about the free video editing application CapCut, which is also owned by ByteDance, and which has been downloaded more than 500 million times from Google Play.
CapCut ranks second on the list of most popular photo and video editors in the US version of the App Store, with nearly 300,000 reviews and a 4.7 out of 5 star rating.
In a separate announcement this week, TikTok detailed new community guidelines and upcoming plans to protect user data.
Leave a Reply