TikTok CEO will oppose ban and say he has solutions to data issues
TikTok CEO Shou Chew will try to convince Congress that TikTok can protect US user data and keep the millions of Americans who use the popular video app safe, according to prepared remarks shared by the US House Committee on Wednesday. on Energy and Commerce.
Chew is scheduled to testify before the committee on Thursday about TikTok’s privacy and data security practices. Lawmakers are reviewing TikTok and the app is facing a possible ban in the United States. Earlier this month, the Biden administration demanded that ByteDance, the app’s Chinese parent company, sell its stake in the app.
Officials are concerned US user data could be passed to the Chinese government or that the Chinese government might dictate the content posted on TikTok in an effort to influence public opinion in the United States.
Chew will argue that ByteDance is not an agent of China, but rather a global company that will not allow unauthorized access to user data.
“TikTok has never shared or received any request to share US user data with the Chinese government,” Chew will say, according to the prepared remarks. “TikTok would also not honor such a request if ever made.”
Chew will also argue that instead of a ban, there are alternatives that could address US officials’ concerns, primarily a $1.5 billion effort to secure data, which TikTok has dubbed Project Texas.
“Our commitment to Project Texas is that all Americans’ data be stored in America, hosted by a US-headquartered company,” Chew will tell lawmakers, with data access controlled by a special subsidiary of TikTok called US Data Security Inc., or USDS.
Chew will also discuss the platform’s commitment to protecting minors who use the app. He’ll highlight examples, including how TikTok accounts registered for teens under 16 can’t send direct messages and are automatically set to private.
“These measures go well beyond what any of our peers are doing,” Chew says in prepared remarks.
On Tuesday, Chew reached out directly to TikTok users for bolstering support, announcing that the app has 150 million users in America. He said in a TikTok video that “some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok”, which would “take TikTok away from your 150 million of you”.
He asked people to share in the comments what they want reps to know about TikTok and why they love the app. The video has over 6 million views.