Who Is TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Who Spoke earlier than Congress?

Time is perhaps operating out for in style social media app TikTok to keep away from a full ban in the USA. Lawmakers throughout the nation—together with greater than half of the 50 states—have already restricted access due to safety issues over the app’s dealing with of consumer knowledge and doable connections to the Chinese language authorities.

In an effort to handle these issues, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced five hours of questioning Thursday from the Home Vitality and Commerce Committee. Assist amongst federal lawmakers to ban the platform has grown in current weeks, with the Senate even introducing a invoice on March 7 to permit for simply that.

TikTok—the video-sharing app that launched in China in 2016 as Douyin and have become a world phenomenon after a 2018 merger with Musical.ly—now has greater than 150 million month-to-month customers in America and is predicted to generate greater than $11 billion in U.S. advert income by 2024, according to Axios.


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Chew turned TikTok’s CEO in 2021, and is now on the middle of the talk. Here’s what you should know concerning the entrepreneur and the controversy surrounding the app.

Who Is Shou Zi Chew?

Chew, 40, was born in Singapore. According to the New York Post, he’s married to funding agency government Vivian Kao; the couple has two youngsters.

Chew attended an elite highschool in Singapore, and accomplished the nation’s obligatory navy service earlier than attending College School London. He graduated in 2006 with an economics diploma.

According to the Associated Press, Chew labored for 2 years at Goldman Sachs earlier than shifting to the states to pursue a grasp’s from Harvard Enterprise College. He and Kao met over email in 2008 after they have been each admitted to the varsity, based on Harvard’s alumni journal. They each earned grasp’s levels in enterprise administration in 2010. Chew additionally had a two-year internship at Fb.

After Harvard, he labored for 5 years at enterprise capital agency DST International and facilitated funding into what’s now ByteDance, the Beijing-based firm that owns TikTok. He additionally labored for 5 years at a Chinese language smartphone firm before he was named TikTok CEO on April 30, 2021.

ByteDance is value an estimated $300 billion as of September 2022, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

Cornell College professor Brooke Erin Duffy informed the Related Press in a recent interview the American public is comparatively unfamiliar with Chew in comparison with different social media giants like Fb co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. In reality, most individuals may not have heard of him till he posted a video to TikTok earlier this week, discussing the threatened United States ban and asking customers what they needed him to debate throughout his testimony.

Why Did Chew Testify Earlier than Congress?

tiktok ceo shou zi chew looking away from photographers

Photographers swarm TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew throughout his testimony in entrance of U.S. Congress members on March 23.

Getty Photos

President Joe Biden and his administration are threatening to ban TikTok in the USA until ByteDance agrees to unload its share of the platform. The app is already prohibited on federal authorities gadgets.

In keeping with the Related Press, the FBI and Federal Communications Fee have warned that ByteDance can share consumer knowledge, reminiscent of looking historical past and site, with the Chinese language authorities. A 2017 legislation in China requires firms to submit any knowledge related to nationwide safety to the federal government, although there isn’t a proof of TikTok ever doing this.

The U.S. Senate introduced a bipartisan invoice on March 7 referred to as the RESTRICT Act that may grant Biden’s administration the authority for a ban. Below the proposal, if the Commerce Secretary—at the moment Gina Raimondo—determines that any transaction via any app from a overseas adversary poses “undue or unacceptable danger” to nationwide safety, the president can take motion, as much as and together with pressured divestment.

Nevertheless, as NPR tech reporter Bobby Allyn defined in a March 10 segment, many authorized specialists consider a ban would run into authorized points relating to free speech. The 1988 Berman Modification says that movies, books, and digital media should have the ability to stream freely between the USA and hostile nations.

Throughout his testimony on Thursday, Chew mentioned the info that the app collects is just like that of different firms like Fb or Twitter. “We’re dedicated to be very clear with our customers about what we acquire,” he mentioned, according to CNN.

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Affiliate Information Editor, Biography.com

Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com workers in 2023, and earlier than that had labored nearly eight years as a newspaper reporter and replica editor. He’s a graduate of Syracuse College, an avid sports activities fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.