TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to testify before the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, where he will address concerns that the Chinese-owned video app poses a risk to US national security. Chew will tell legislators that TikTok would never share users’ data with Beijing, and that its parent company ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government or any other state entity.
In written testimony posted on Tuesday by the House committee, Chew stated that TikTok has never shared, nor received a request to share, US user data with the Chinese government. He added that TikTok would not honour such a request if one were ever made. The company has also confirmed reports that the White House demanded TikTok cut ties with its Chinese owners or face a ban.
TikTok’s critics, including US legislators, have expressed concerns over the app’s potential to compromise Americans’ privacy and national security. However, TikTok has said it has spent over $1.5bn on an initiative called “Project Texas” to safeguard US users’ data.
Beijing has accused Washington of “spreading disinformation” and “suppressing” the app. In a TikTok post on Tuesday, Chew revealed that over 150 million people in the US now use TikTok each month, up from 100 million in 2020. He also asked the app’s users to share what they love about TikTok in the comments section.
Chew warned that some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok, which could take the app away from all 150 million users. However, he will testify that TikTok is not an “agent of China or any other country,” and that it remains committed to protecting its users’ data and privacy.