Operation charm of the CEO of TikTok before his appearance in the American Congress, Thursday
Chinese company's CEO will have to answer questions elected members of the United States Congress about its privacy and data security practices and its dealings with the Chinese government.
Shou Zi Chew has warned of a possible US ban on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. (File photo)
TikTok launched a counteroffensive on Tuesday amid growing Western pressure over cybersecurity and misinformation issues, rolling out updated rules and standards for content.
Its CEO has also warned of a possible US ban on this Chinese-owned video-sharing app.
CEO Shou Zi Chew is due to appear before elected officials on Thursday. U.S. Congress, who will question him about the company's privacy and data security practices and its relationship with the Chinese government.
Shou Zi Chew has been leading TikTok since May 2021. (File photo)
Mr. Chew said in a video on TikTok that the summons comes at a pivotal time for the company, after lawmakers introduced measures that would expand the authority of the Joe Biden administration to enact a US ban on the app. According to the CEO, more than 150 million Americans use it.
Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok, but this could take TikTok away to all of you, the 150 million users, says Mr. Chew, dressed in jeans and a blue hoodie, with the dome of the US Capitol in the background.
“I will be testifying before Congress this week to say how much we are doing to protect Americans who use the app.
—Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok
The TikTok app has been criticized in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia-Pacific, where a growing number of governments have banned it on devices used for official business. These governments are concerned that the app poses cybersecurity and data privacy risks or that it could be used to convey pro-Beijing rhetoric and misinformation.
So far there is no evidence that this happened or that TikTok passed user data to the Chinese government, as some of its critics have claimed.
A growing number of governments have banned the app on devices used for official business. (File photo)
TikTok also announced updated rules and standards for content and users in a revamped set of Community Guidelines, which include eight principles to guide content moderation decisions.
“These principles are based on our commitment to uphold human rights and aligned with international legal frameworks.
—Julie de Bailliencourt, Global Head of Product Policy, TikTok
She said TikTok strives to be fair, protect human dignity, and strike a balance between free speech and harm prevention.
The guidelines, which take effect April 21, have been remade from TikTok's existing rules, with additional details and explanations. Among the most significant changes are additional details as to its restrictions on deep-faking. TikTok articulates its policy more clearly, saying that all deep fakes or manipulated content that shows realistic scenes must be clearly labeled as such.
TikTok previously banned deep fakes that mislead users into mistake about real-world events and cause damage. Its updated guidelines state that deep fakes of private figures and young people are also not permitted.
Big fakes of public figures will be permitted in certain contexts, such as for artistic content or educational, but not for political or commercial purposes.