In an effort to counter potential security concerns related to its Chinese ownership and fend off a possible U.S. government ban, TikTok has released new data highlighting its popularity in America. According to the company, as of February 2023, TikTok has more than 150 million monthly active users in the U.S. and nearly 7,000 employees in the country.
TikTok also claims that it has become the preferred platform for almost 5 million American businesses, most of which are small and medium-sized companies. In a statement, TikTok expressed gratitude for being a platform for its diverse American community, which includes book lovers, foodies, families, and emerging artists, among others. US is concerned if China Using USA 150 Million User Data of TikTok.
Data Safety and Impending Tiktok Ban
According to written testimony posted by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, TikTok’s Chief Security Officer, Roland Chew, will testify on Thursday that the company has never shared or received a request to share U.S. user data with the Chinese government. Furthermore, Chew will state that TikTok would not comply with such a request if it were ever made.
During a recent hearing, Roland Chew, the CEO of TikTok, denied accusations that the if china is using USA tiktok’s data or removed content related to China’s human rights record. Chew also stated that since he took on the role in 2021.
TikTok has not received any requests for information about its foreign users from the Chinese government. He emphasized that TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, are owned by global investors and not controlled by Beijing.
Chew also assured that American data is stored within the US by an American company, overseen by American personnel and denied china is using USA . However, last week, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ordered ByteDance to divest its stake in TikTok, or face the possibility of a ban in the US. Tiktok also uses Messaging system.
Support by China and Scrutiny by USA Government
TikTok has faced regulatory scrutiny in the United States before, with former President Donald Trump issuing two executive orders in August 2020. The first order sought to ban TikTok in the country but was blocked by a federal judge, and the second directed ByteDance to divest its U.S. assets and delete all American user data. The recent congressional hearing regarding TikTok’s security concerns sparked criticism on social media, with some calling for Beijing to block any sale of the app to avoid a potential ban.
Xiang Ligang, founder of health care product maker 720 Health iTech, noted on China’s microblogging site Weibo that the U.S. lags behind China in AI technology and suggested that China should not allow companies with high-level AI technology to be sold to the U.S. Meanwhile, Hu Xijin, a former editor-in-chief of the state-run tabloid Global Times, accused the U.S. of “robbing TikTok” while hypocritically conducting a hearing.
Chew’s Testimony Against U.S Government’s Claim of China Using USA Data
In his testimony, Chew stated that the majority of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is owned by global institutional investors, with 60% of the company’s ownership falling under this category. This includes investors such as Blackrock, General Atlantic, and Sequoia. The founders of ByteDance own around 20% of the company, with the remaining 20% being owned by employees, including thousands of Americans and denied allegations of China using USA data.
TikTok recently reported that it has over 150 million monthly active users in the United States, up from 100 million in 2020. Chew’s testimony noted that the average TikTok user in the U.S. is an adult beyond college age. Despite only representing 10% of TikTok’s global community, U.S. users generate 25% of the total views on the app worldwide.
Chew also clarified that current versions of the app do not collect precise or approximate GPS information from U.S. users. This statement is consistent with previous assurances made by the company that it does not share U.S. user data with the Chinese government, nor has it received any demands from Beijing for information on foreign users.
Chew’s prepared testimony stresses that TikTok is taking “real action” to address national security concerns and that ByteDance, the China-based parent company, is not an agent of China or any other country. He will also try to downplay ByteDance’s ties to the Chinese government, highlighting that three Americans sit on its five-member board of directors, and that it is majority-owned by institutional investors from around the world.
Chew plans to tell the panel that TikTok is building a “firewall” to seal off protected U.S. user data from unauthorized foreign access, and that only vetted personnel operating in a new company, TikTok U.S. Data Security, can control access to this data. Additionally, the company has plans for TikTok U.S. Data Security to report to an independent American board with strong security credentials.
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Chew’s testimony aims to assure lawmakers that TikTok has never shared or received a request to share U.S. user data with the Chinese government and that TikTok U.S. Data Security is incorporated in the U.S. and is subject to the laws of the United States and China using USA data is false and baseless. However, some lawmakers remain skeptical of the app’s intentions, and nearly two dozen senators have introduced legislation targeting TikTok.
The Biden administration wants ByteDance to divest itself from the short-form video platform altogether to avoid a TikTok ban in the U.S. The Justice Department is investigating ByteDance for possible spying on U.S. citizens, including journalists. While some federal lawmakers have introduced bills seeking to empower the administration to ban TikTok nationwide, not all lawmakers support a TikTok ban. Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York organized a press conference Wednesday with TikTok creators who say the app is vital to their livelihoods.
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