TikTok CEO says app never shared U.S. user data with China

TikTok CEO says app never shared U.S. user data with China

WASHINGTON TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will tell lawmakers that the Chinese-owned short video app with more than 150 million American users has never shared user data with the Chinese government, amid growing U.S. national security concerns.

TikTok has never shared, or received a request to share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government. According to testimony posted on Tuesday by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, neither would TikTok honor such a request.

He said that TikTok's parent company ByteDance isn't owned or controlled by any government or state entity. Let me state this unambiguously: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country, Chew will say to the committee.

TikTok's critics fear that its user data could be passed on to China's government by the app, prompted growing calls to ban the app by U.S. lawmakers. Last week, TikTok said the Biden administration demanded that its Chinese owners divest their stake in the app or it could face a U.S. ban.

Bans are only appropriate when there is no alternative. There is an alternative, according to Chew's testimony.

TikTok has spent more than 1.5 billion on rigorous data security efforts under the name of Project Texas, according to a report by TikTok. When the process is completed, all protected U.S. data will be under the protection of U.S. law and under the control of the U.S. security team. There is no way for the Chinese government to access it or compel access to it under this structure. The company said this month it had started to delete U.S. user protected data in data centers in Virginia and Singapore after it started routing new U.S. data to the Oracle Cloud last year. Chew's testimony said that it expects this process to be completed later this year.

According to Chew's testimony, 60 per cent of ByteDance is owned by global institutional investors including Blackrock, General Atlantic, and others.

Sequoia and Sequoia were about 20 per cent owned by the company's founders, and about 20 per cent of the company's founders.

Thousands of Americans are among the 20 percent owned by its employees. On Monday, TikTok said more than 150 million people in the United States use TikTok on a monthly basis, after saying that 100 million Americans used the app in 2020. The average user is well past college age, according to Chew's testimony.

While users in the United States represent 10 per cent of the global community's total views, their voice accounts for 25 per cent of the total views around the world, according to Chew's testimony.

Chew says that current versions of the app don't collect precise or approximate GPS information from U.S. users.