Amid concerns in the US that TikTok, the Chinese short video app, could be a national security threat, company CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before Congress on Wednesday.
According to his testimony posted on Tuesday by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Chew will tell lawmakers that ByteDance, the company that owns the app, is not an agent of China or any other country.
"TikTok has never shared, or received a request to share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government. Nor would TikTok honour such a request if one were ever made," Chew's testimony read. "Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country."
This comes as TikTok faces scrutiny over whether it could leak data of users to China government. Last week, the Biden administration demanded that its Chinese owners divest their stake in the app or it could face a US ban. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a powerful national security body, too had recommended in 2020 that ByteDance divest TikTok.
However, Chew will tell the lawmakers that the ban could hurt American small businesses. "We do not believe that a ban that hurts American small businesses, damages the country's economy, silences the voices of over 150 million Americans, and reduces competition in an increasingly concentrated market is the solution to a solvable problem," Chew states in the prepared testimony.
"Bans are only appropriate when there are no alternatives. But we do have an alternative," Chew's testimony said. He added that the company looks forward to partnering with the Committee on developing clear, consistent rules for the entire industry.
Concerns over national security had prompted over a dozen countries, including India, to introduce a ban on the app.
FBI director Chris Wray too told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that Beijing could control the software on millions of American devices. In 2020, TikTok faced orders from the Trump administration that ByteDance must sell TikTok or face a nationwide prohibition. The company had then tried to fix a deal with Walmart and Oracle to shift TikTok's U.S. assets into a new entity. However, Trump lost court battles seeking to ban TikTok.