(Hypebot) — TikTok has announced that it has 150 million active users in the U.S., up 50 % from 100 million users in August 2020.
Privacy concerns driven by TikTok owner ByteDance’s connections to the Chinese government have made it a political punching bag, with jabs coming from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as President Biden.
The new 150 million milestone underscores how much is at stake for TikTok, its users, and U.S. politicians as CEO Shou Zi Chew prepares to appear Thursday before House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a hearing titled “TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms.”
With concerns and bans growing globally, Chew will appear before the committee to testify on TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on younger users, and its relationship with the Chinese government and Communist Party.
“Americans deserve to know the extent to which their privacy is jeopardized, and their data is manipulated by ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with China,” said Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) in a statement announcing the hearing.
TikTok mobilizes influencers to fight back
In an effort to battle a forced sale or complete U.S. ban, TikTok has organized dozens of influencers to travel to Washington, DC, this week to protest and spread the word online. TikTok is reportedly covering their expenses and organizing a press conference.
“Lawmakers in Washington debating TikTok should hear firsthand from people whose lives would be directly affected by their decisions,” TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown told Politico. “We look forward to welcoming our creators to our nation’s capital, helping them make their voices heard, and continuing to drive meaningful impact in their lives and for their communities.”
Thousands more TikTok influencers are expected to join the protest online.
How To Watch
Thursday, March 23, 2023
TIME: 10:00 AM ET LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building
The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live-streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/.
MORE – 4 things to DO NOW before TikTok is banned: The Breadcrumb Strategy
Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.