TikTok CEO Shou Chew Addresses U.S. Users Amidst Ban Speculations in Washington

 TikTok CEO Shou Chew issued a stark warning to U.S. users on Wednesday, cautioning that efforts by politicians to ban the social media platform would effectively consolidate power in the hands of other social media giants, while also impacting creators financially. This response came shortly after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that could lead to the effective prohibition of TikTok in the country.

Named the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, the bill must still navigate through the Senate and earn President Joe Biden's signature. However, Biden has already signaled his willingness to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk. The House passed the bill with a significant majority of 352-65, garnering support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Chew implored users to defend their constitutional rights and highlighted the potential risk to over 300,000 American jobs. He asserted that TikTok would persist in fighting for its users' interests and would exhaust all legal avenues should the bill become law.

Expressing disappointment over the House's vote, Chew aimed to dispel misinformation surrounding the situation. He emphasized TikTok's commitment to safeguarding user data and maintaining a platform free from external manipulation.

The bill's primary objective is to compel TikTok's exit from U.S.-based app stores unless its parent company, ByteDance, Ltd, divests its stake to a U.S. entity within six months. Additionally, it prohibits the distribution, maintenance, or provision of internet hosting services for applications controlled by foreign adversaries. Lawmakers have cited concerns about privacy and national security threats as the driving force behind the legislation, given ByteDance's Chinese ownership.

A former ByteDance executive's testimony in May 2023 further fueled concerns, describing the company as a "useful propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party" and alleging that Chinese engineers had access to user data in the U.S. through backdoor channels.

With approximately 170 million users, TikTok remains vigilant in addressing privacy concerns and ensuring the integrity of its platform. Chew urged users to share their stories and voice their concerns to senators, emphasizing the importance of protecting constitutional rights in the face of potential regulatory challenges.

In his closing remarks, Chew expressed gratitude and affection for TikTok's community, urging them to continue advocating for their rights and maintaining active engagement on the platform.

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