TikTok launched an SOS just one day before its CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is due to appear before the House of Representatives. It did so by launching a video in which it claimed that more than 150 million private users and 5 million businesses in the United States frequently use TikTok and that there are a total of 7,000 Americans working for the app:
@djxsquizit Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, speaks out... Didn't have to wear no suit or fancy clothing to do this video either. Humbleness at its finest 🙌👍👌👌🙌🙌👌.... Continue stomping on Meta, Google & all the other social media apps 😆😆 #tiktok #tiktokfam #tiktokceo #ceo #tiktokban @tiktok ♬ Paradise - TELL YOUR STORY music by Ikson™
In the video, which Shou Zi Chew recorded in Washington, D.C., the CEO claimed that "some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok" and that this "could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you."
As such, he stated that he will testify before the House to "share all that we're doing to protect Americans using the app and deliver our mission to inspire creativity and to bring joy." Zi Chew ended his brief remarks by asking users to leave in the comments "what you want your elected representatives to know about what you love about TikTok."
TikTok CEO's statement to the Chamber
This was not the only action TikTok took prior to its address to the House. The CEO also sent a prepared testimony of ten pages to the Energy and Commerce Committee in which he assured that banning the application at the national level would not be the most appropriate way to solve the problems that both the United States and other countries have regarding the security of the application:
We do not believe that a ban that hurts American small businesses, damages the country’s economy, silences the voices of over 150 million Americans, and reduces competition in an increasingly concentrated market is the solution to a solvable problem.
Testimony Before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Written. Statement of Testimony. Testimon... by VozMedia on Scribd
In the statement, the social network also stated that its parent company, ByteDance, is not taking any action that would put the safety of citizens at risk:
ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country. However, for the reasons discussed above, you don’t simply have to take my word on that. Rather, our approach has been to work transparently and cooperatively with the U.S. government and Oracle to design robust solutions to address concerns about TikTok’s heritage.
In the testimony, Shou Zi Chew also took the opportunity to assure both congressmen and users of several commitments that TikTok would carry out:
1) We will keep safety—particularly for teenagers—a top priority for us;
2) We will firewall protected U.S. user data from unauthorized foreign access;
3) Tiktok will remain a platform for free expression and will not be manipulated by any government;
4) We will be transparent and give access to third-party independent monitors, to remain accountable for our commitments.
Netherlands also vetoes the application on its federal devices
As TikTok's CEO prepares to appear before the House, the social network continues to be vetoed by various governments. The latest to join the ban was the Netherlands. The Dutch government, Europa Press reports, banned the use of the app on all official cell phones to prevent spying.
It was the Minister of Finance, Alexandra van Huffelen, who announced the government's decision on Tuesday. It did so through a press release in which it informed that it not only vetoed TikTok, but that it discourages the use of any app from companies in countries with "offensive cyber programs" in reference to Iran, Russia and China itself:
For civil servants employed by the national government, it is immediately discouraged to have apps from countries with an offensive cyber program against the Netherlands and/or Dutch interests installed and used on their work mobile devices.