TikTok has over 150 million users in the U.S. alone, but it’s the company’s ownership structure that garners much of the attention it receives today. The short-video app, which helped launch the careers of chart-topping artists from Lil Nas X to Doja Cat, is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, prompting privacy and national-security concerns over alleged data transfer to the Chinese state. Over a dozen governments, including those of the U.K., the U.S., and Australia, have banned the app on official devices. Seeking to allay the concerns of a U.S. congressional panel in March, CEO Shou Zi Chew said TikTok employs 40,000 moderators to track harmful content and is leading a $1.5 billion project to create a new U.S. subsidiary specifically to safeguard American user data. “We will keep [TikTok] free from any manipulation by any government,” Chew said.
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