The battle for TikTok is heating up with reports that the US Government is contemplating a ban on the popular social media platform. Today, TikTok’s CEO has taken to his own platform to send a message directly to the overwhelming number of Americans using TikTok.

Shou Zi Chew, TikTok CEO posted a video message to the official TikTok company account announcing that there are more than 150 million active TikTok users in the USA.

As he correctly points out “That’s the almost half of the US coming to TikTok to connect, to create, to share, to learn, or just to have some fun.”


Our CEO, Shou Chew, shares a special message on behalf of the entire TikTok team to thank our community of 150 million Americans ahead of his congressional hearing later this week.

♬ original sound – TikTok

His message isn’t just about announcing that huge user number, it’s timed specifically to match his appearance before a US Congressional hearing into the platform where Shou says he will “share all that we are doing to protect Americans using the app and deliver on our mission to inspire creativity and to bring joy.”

Critically, it’s almost a call to action for TikTok users, saying “Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok. Now, this could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you.”

There’s no politician that wants 50% of their voters to be offside in an instant, so with Shou calling for comments on the post, you can expect plenty of Members of Congress will be reading those comments.

The calls for a ban are not new, the same happened under the Trump administration, and it all relates to the fear that the Chinese Government might have access to the data of TikTok users.

Several Governments around the world have banned or are considering banning TikTok on the phones of Members of Parliament, including Australia. Personally, I think that’s a great idea. But it should be followed by a similar ban on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google, all of which collect equally large or larger amounts of information from their users.

However, a ban for private citizens is a bridge too far – and I cannot see it ever happening. Again, no politician wants to polarise instantly the majority of their constituents.

Importantly, this entire “Ban TikTok” movement is based around fear. Firstly in the US you can absolutely imaging lobby groups representing US Tech companies are lobbying senators and representatives to have TikTok banned. Additionally, like in the case of Huawei and it’s bans around the world, theres not a single shred of evidence that anyone from the Chinese Government has ever accessed, seen or used any data from TikTok’s servers. It’s simply never happened.

So while I think it’s right that no company, US or Chinese should be able to gather info on our most senior politicians, I don’t think it’s right that we attack a business just because it’s Chinese.

This will not go away quickly though. Time will tell.