The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, warned US congressmen on Thursday that imposing a ban on that platform in the country would be detrimental to the economy and freedom of expression.
"It's an app where people can be creative. There are close to five million American businesses, mostly small, that use it to find customers and drive growth," he told the House of Energy and Commerce committee. Representatives, where he recalled that in the US there are around 150 million users.
Chew had met bilaterally this year with some lawmakers to emphasize that the company offers privacy and security guarantees, but this was his first official appearance on Capitol Hill.
Congress has already vetoed the download and use of TikTok from all government mobile devices and in January and March various bills were presented that seek to prohibit its application in all of the country and limit the threat posed by the technology. coming from "enemies" like China or Iran.
Chew recalled that he is a Singaporean and a resident of Singapore, that TikTok is run by an executive team in the US and Singapore, that it is headquartered in Los Angeles and Singapore, and that it is not available on the Chinese mainland.
He said he was aware, however, that the fact that its parent company, ByteDance, has Chinese founders has raised suspicions about whether its platform could be used as a tool of China or the Chinese Communist Party.
"ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government. It is a private company. I have no proof that the Chinese government has access to the data. They have never asked us," he said.
In his attempt to dispel doubts, he wanted to make t clear that his company is subject to the laws of the United States. At the center of his work in this country in favor of security and privacy is the so-called Texas Project, which contemplates these safeguards.
To ensure that Americans' data is stored in the United States and hosted by a company based in that country, they have hired Oracle, a leader in cloud-based services, and only staff of a new unit of the firm, TikTok. US Data Security, can access that data.
"This goes further, than any other company in our industry has done. We are the only one, the only one, that offers this level of transparency," he said in a session with much media and legislative expectation in which the opposition of the congressmen was clear from the beginning.