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TikTok says half of Americans use site as ban threat looms
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said Tuesday that US user numbers had soared to 150 million—almost half the total population—as he prepared to fight at US Congress for the Chinese owned site's future.
Chew will give testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday where he is set to face a barrage of questions over allegations by both Republicans and Democrats that the app is beholden to the Communist Party in Beijing.
The company has also confirmed reports that the White House gave TikTok an ultimatum to part ways with its Chinese owners or face a US ban.
"Today, I'm super excited to announce that more than 150 million Americans are on TikTok. 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 in a TikTok post.
This was up from TikTok's previous measure in 2020 that 100 million users came to the video sharing site every month, which already made it one of the most popular.
Chew also asked the app's devoted 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.
The Singaporean CEO said he would share with Congress "all that we're doing to protect Americans using the app," in a reference to a proposal called Project Texas that would guarantee a special handling for the data of US users.
TikTok has consistently denied sharing data with Chinese officials and says it has been working with US authorities for more than two years to address national security concerns.
Time spent by US users on TikTok has surpassed that spent on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and it is closing in on streaming titan Netflix, according to market tracker Insider Intelligence.
© 2023 AFP