Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, announced on Tuesday that the platform’s user base in the US has reached an impressive 150 million, almost half the total population of the country. Chew made this announcement ahead of his appearance at the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he will be answering questions related to allegations that the popular video-sharing app is linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
Both Republican and Democratic politicians have raised concerns that TikTok is being used as a tool by the Chinese government to access the personal data of Americans. The White House reportedly gave TikTok an ultimatum to part ways with its Chinese owners or face a potential ban in the US.
Chew addressed these concerns in a TikTok post, stating that the company has been working with US authorities for more than two years to address national security issues. He also referred to a proposal called Project Texas that would ensure special handling for the data of US users.
TikTok has consistently denied sharing data with Chinese officials and has assured its users that their privacy and security is a top priority. The app’s popularity in the US has surged, with the number of monthly active users increasing from 100 million in 2020 to 150 million in 2023.
Despite its popularity, TikTok has faced criticism and scrutiny from governments around the world. Norway’s justice minister recently recommended that government employees refrain from using TikTok on their work devices due to concerns over data privacy.
TikTok has become a dominant player in the social media landscape, with US users now spending more time on the app than on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Market tracker Insider Intelligence has reported that TikTok is closing in on streaming giant Netflix in terms of time spent by US users.
Chew’s upcoming appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be closely watched, as it could determine the future of TikTok in the US. The app’s huge popularity among Americans, combined with concerns over national security, has made it a lightning rod for political controversy.