TikTok COO Pappas Steps Down

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TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Chew said that V. Pappas, the social media giant’s chief operating officer, is stepping down to focus on “entrepreneurial passions.”

Adam Presser, the company’s chief of staff, will become head of operations. Zenia Mucha, former head of communications at Walt Disney Co., is joining as chief brand and communications officer, a new position.

Pappas has been the longtime public face for TikTok in the U.S. as the company has tried to fend off a ban under two presidential administrations. The COO represented the company at a Senate hearing in September as the most recent wave of criticism ramped up. Pappas will continue as a strategic adviser.

TikTok, a division of China’s ByteDance Ltd., has risen to become one of the most popular social media apps in the world on the strength of user-generated, short-form videos. Given its Chinese ownership, the product has raised concerns among both Republicans and Democrats that the government there may use it to gather intelligence about US citizens.

Read More: What to Know About the TikTok Security Concerns

TikTok has denied any influence from the Chinese Communist Party. Pappas unveiled a plan called Project Texas, where TikTok said it’s walling off US user data and housing it on the servers of American tech company Oracle Corp.

While public scrutiny of the company has cooled as Congress has dealt with issues like the debt ceiling debates, there are still multiple bills proposed that could ban the app, as well as an ongoing federal national security review.

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