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TikTok now has 150 million active users in the U.S., CEO to tell Congress

when tick tock CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before Congress on Thursday, when he plans to reveal new internal data. popular video sharing apps It’s much more integrated into American life than most people realize.

TikTok currently says Nearly 100 million people in the US are regular app usersBut when Chu testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he will say the number has now reached 150 million, according to a senior Democratic strategist who advises TikTok.

A 50% increase in US monthly active users suggests the app has become even more established in the US after almost three years of grappling with how Washington has dealt with it under two presidential administrations. increase. curb it.

Lawmakers from both parties and the White House say TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, poses a threat to national security. spy.

December, President Joe Biden Signed a spending bill banning TikTok From US government devices.The Justice Department and the FBI are currently investigating TikTok and ByteDance, alleging that their employees spied on a journalist.

Chew’s testimony comes at the height of efforts in Washington to potentially ban TikTok in the US. Biden now supports a bipartisan bill that could do just that, His administration recently told TikTok The Chinese owner could sell its stake in the company or the app could face a US ban.

His first appearance in Congress will be a showdown with TikTok’s most high-profile lawmaker to date. The app plans to rely on users considered “creators” to counter moves to ban it and criticism that it poses a national security threat.

An intelligence official testifies before a House Select Committee hearing at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee / Getty Images file)

Dozens of TikTok creators — including small business owners, entertainers and activists who see the app as the key to their lives — met with reporters in Washington Wednesday ahead of Mr. Chu’s testimony, according to people familiar with the company. We will hold a press conference and meet with members of parliament. plan.

Lobbying efforts first reported by informationintroduces the argument, which is primarily economic: Banning TikTok could create financial hardships for Americans who rely on it for their income.

“The creators of TikTok are small business owners looking to put food on the table for a living and teachers educating the next generation of leaders,” said TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown in a statement. and a daily innovator representing the whole of America.” “Washington lawmakers debating TikTok should hear directly from the people whose lives are directly affected by their decisions.”

The potential political impact of a TikTok ban is difficult to predict. suggests that he could pay the price if he ran for office. he said he was going to.

Highlights How Biden’s Governance and Political Strategies Clash on Friday’s President TikTok Featured in app video With Irish singer Niall Horan at the White House St. Patrick’s Day party.

But when asked last month if the US should ban TikTok, Biden said “I don’t know,” adding, “I know I don’t have TikTok on my phone.”

According to a senior Democratic strategist who advises TikTok, the 150 million regular users in America that Chu mentions in Thursday’s congressional testimony do not include children under the age of 13.

But of that 150 million, roughly 12 million are under the age of 18, about 8%, meaning about 138 million people of voting age are regular users of TikTok. However, the average age of regular TikTok users is 31, the strategist added. (Some of his 12 million regular TikTok users under the age of 18 will reach voting age in 2024.)

Recent Quinnipiac poll It showed that 49% of Americans supported a TikTok ban in the US and 42% opposed it.

Opinion polls show significantly greater opposition to a nationwide ban among Americans ages 18 to 34, with 63% opposing a ban and 33% in favor of a ban.Under 35 of voters tend to favor Democrats by a wide margin.

A poll breakdown across parties suggests the ban could hurt Democrats even more. 64% of Republicans and 50% of independents support the ban, and 51% of Democrats oppose it.

TikTok is one of the key flashpoints in strained US-China relations.

“The United States has yet to prove with evidence that TikTok threatens national security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference last week.

TikTok has been a target of the US government for several years, and former President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban the app in 2020 was blocked in court, but the idea gained widespread momentum in Washington. It’s very recent.

After Trump tried to ban TikTok, China passed a law in 2020 adding it to the government’s list of technologies that cannot be exported.The algorithm used by TikTok is considered off-limits and Beijing has banned sales. may refuse

TikTok is trying to address the US government’s national security concerns by proposing to hire a US company to store the data of people in the US who use the app.

Chu said in an interview with wall street journal The Biden administration’s demand for the sale of TikTok’s Chinese stakeholders this week did not address concerns raised by U.S. officials.

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