TikTok said on Monday the short-video sharing app currently has 150 million monthly active users in the United States, an increase from 100 million it said it had in 2020.
The Chinese-owned app verified the figure prior to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s testimony scheduled for Thursday before the Commerce Committee and the House Energy.
On Friday, six more U.S. senators supported bipartisan legislation to grant President Joe Biden new powers to ban TikTok on national security grounds. Last week, TikTok said the Biden administration ordered that its Chinese owners sell their stake in the app or it could face a U.S. ban.
The app faces heightening pressure in Washington including calls to ban the app by majority of Congress who fear its U.S. user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. TikTok said in September 2021 that worldwide it had over 1 billion monthly users.
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner, who is cosponsoring legislation to grant the administration more powers to ban TikTok, said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that he did not belie TikTok U.S. data was safe.
“This notional idea that the data can be made safe under (Chinese Communist Party) law, just doesn’t, doesn’t pass the smell test.”
TikTok said it has spent over $1.5 billion on stringent data security efforts, rebuffed spying allegations and said:
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“If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access.”
The recent figures are a sign of the app’s widespread popularity mostly among younger Americans. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Bloomberg News there could be political implications to banning TikTok. “The politician in me thinks you’re gonna literally lose every voter under 35, forever,” she said.
Some TikTok content creators will come to Washington this week to prove the case why the app should not be banned.
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