The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, announced that the popular video app now has more than 150 million users in the US. This figure is up from the 100 million users that the app had in 2020. Chew also revealed that there are over 5 million businesses in the US that use TikTok. This news comes at a time when the app is facing increased scrutiny over national security concerns and amid reports that the US government is considering banning the app.
In a TikTok video ahead of his congressional testimony, Chew asked users to come to the app’s defense by letting their elected representatives know what they love about TikTok. Chew stated that he would be testifying before Congress later that week to explain what TikTok is doing to protect Americans who use the app.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will grill Chew about the app’s privacy practices and how it protects children. This comes after reports of harmful algorithms being used to exploit children for profit and expose them to dangerous content. The US government is also concerned about user data being passed on to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
TikTok has spent almost $1.5 billion on a charm offensive, including an independent audit by Oracle and the construction of a Transparency Center in L.A. The company has also launched “Project Texas,” which aims to address lawmakers’ concerns and show that the US business is transparent and separate from China-based operations.
In addition to Chew’s announcement, TikTok has updated its community guidelines with new policies around the use of AI in content and climate misinformation. Accounts are now required to disclose the use of AI in videos. The app has faced bans in several countries, including the UK, the EU, Canada, and New Zealand, and is still facing uncertainty in the US.