TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will tell United States legislators that the Chinese-owned video app would never share users’ data with Beijing amid a growing push in the US to ban the platform outright.
Chew will on Thursday speak before the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, where he is expected to be questioned on claims the app could be manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party.
The company last week confirmed reports that the White House demanded TikTok cut ties with its Chinese owners or face a ban.
“TikTok has never shared, or received a request to share, US user data with the Chinese government. Nor would TikTok honour such a request if one were ever made,” Chew will testify on Thursday, according to written testimony posted on Tuesday by the House committee.
Chew added that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government or any other state entity.
“Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country,” Chew will say.
TikTok’s critics, including US legislators, say the app poses a risk to Americans’ privacy and US national security.
TikTok has said it has spent more than $1.5bn on an initiative to safeguard US users’ data known as “Project Texas”.
Beijing has accused Washington of “spreading disinformation” and “suppressing” the app.
In a TikTok post on Tuesday, Chew said more than 150 million people in the US now use TikTok each month, up from 100 million in 2020.
“That’s almost half of the US coming to TikTok to connect, to create, to share, to learn or just to have some fun,” Chew said.
Chew also asked the app’s users to “let me know in the comments what you want your elected representatives to know about what you love about TikTok.”
“Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok. Now this could take TikTok away from all 100 and 50 million of you,” Chew said, Al Jazeera reports.
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