TikTok ban – latest: Platform stars defend app in DC as CEO set to testify at Congress

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TikTok is facing a complete ban in the US over fears that China is using the app as a covert tool for spying and spreading propaganda.

CEO Shou Chew will testify before Congress on Thursday, with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee set to raise their concerns about how much access the Chinese government has to user data, as well as how much influence the Chinese Communist Party has over it.

TikTok has consistently denied such allegations, though this has not stopped the US and other countries from banning the app from government and military-issued devices.

Some countries like India have even issued a nationwide ban of TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps as a result of national security worries.

With more than 150 million TikTok users in the US, many will be following Thursday’s proceedings closely to see if Biden’s administration follows India by banning TikTok.

You can follow all the latest news and updates in our live coverage here.

05:05 , Graeme Massie

People gather for a press conference about their opposition to a TikTok ban on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on 22 March 2023.

The White House reportedly told TikTok earlier this month that the ap will be banned in the US if it continues to be owned by the Beijing-based tech firm Bytedance.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

TikTok star @duncanyounot defends app

03:03 , Graeme Massie

“I want to stop the misconception that it’s just an app. It’s so much more than that,” said Duncan Joseph, who has more than 4.5 million followers of his @duncanyounot account.

“If it were to be removed, these communities can’t just go to another spot. This is the home … and you just can’t rip that social fabric away from so many people.”

TikTok star V Spehar says he believes White House still understands platform’s importance

01:04 , Graeme Massie

V Spehar, known as @underthedesknews on TikTok, says he still believes that the Biden administration understands the importance of TikTok.

“I think the White House certainly recognizes the importance and the reach this platform has, or I wouldn’t have two letters sitting at home on my desk right now signed by Joe Biden saying how important my platform is and how proud he is of the work I do,” Spehar told NBC News.

Content creator @aidanpleasestoptalking gives view on TikTok ban

Wednesday 22 March 2023 23:01 , Graeme Massie

Content creator Aidan Kohn-Murphy, who is known as @aidanpleasestoptalking, has almost 300,000 TikTok followers.

“When Trump threatened to ban TikTok, young people mobilized. It was one of the big factors of youth turnout in 2020,” said Mr Kohn-Murphy, who also runs @GenZforChange account.

“I think young people are already disaffected with politics in a lot of ways, and I think this is going to build on that,” he told NBC News.

TikTok influencers address potential ban of app in Washington DC

Wednesday 22 March 2023 22:12 , Graeme Massie

TikTok influencer Janette Ok speaks during a media availability, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP)
TikTok influencer Janette Ok speaks during a media availability, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP)
TikTok influencer Gohar Khan speaks during a media availability, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP)
TikTok influencer Gohar Khan speaks during a media availability, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Washington. (AP)

TikTok ban warning from CEO Shou Chew

Wednesday 22 March 2023 16:26 , Anthony Cuthbertson

Here’s what Shou Zi Chew had to say ahead of tomorrow’s Congress hearing:


Our CEO, Shou Chew, shares a special message on behalf of the entire TikTok team to thank our community of 150 million Americans ahead of his congressional hearing later this week.

♬ original sound - TikTok

His warning that “all 150 million” US users could be banned has already generated dozens of ‘duets’ from TikTok users, with the majority of them appearing to offer their support both for Chew and TikTok.

While TikTok’s official account, which the video was posted to, has close to 70 million followers and 288 million likes, Chew’s personal account has just 17,000 followers and 68,000 likes. He could see that change in the coming days, with his appearance before Congress set to put his name on headlines around the world.

Wednesday 22 March 2023 15:01 , Anthony Cuthbertson

Shou Chew has less than 24 hours to wait before he appears before Congress at 10am local time (2pm GMT) on Thursday, 23 March.

He has already posted a TikTok asking US users what they want their elected representatives to know about “what you love” about TikTok.

“I’ll be testifying before Congress this week to share all that we’re doing to protect Americans using the app and deliver on our mission to inspire creativity and to bring joy,” he said in the post published to TikTok’s main account.

His own account has been remarkably quiet considering he’s the boss of the app, having posted less than a couple of dozen times in its history. His low profile is in keeping with his public persona, which he has managed to keep extremely private compared to the heads of other tech giants.

There’s only six sentences on his Wikipedia page, but if you want to find out more you can read this:

How a Facebook intern became the boss of TikTok

Hello and welcome...

Wednesday 22 March 2023 14:43 , Anthony Cuthbertson

to The Independent’s coverage of TikTok and the looming US ban. We’ll be bringing you all the latest news and developments as CEO Shou Chew prepares to face questions from lawmakers in Washington on Thursday.

His appearance could prove pivotal to whether or not the Biden Administration decides to push forward with a complete ban of the hugely popular app, having already blocked it from devices used by government workers and military personnel. TikTok was the most downloaded app in the US last year, with any action set to impact more than 150 million users.