TikTok’s CEO pledged to spend $2 billion on protecting children and the other 170 million US-based users who use the popular video-sharing app.
TikTok boss Shou Chew plans to spend the 10-figure sum on trust and global safety at the company, which has a team of more than 40,000 working on those efforts, according to Bloomberg.
Chew is expected to reveal more detailed plans about how the funds will be distributed in a testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, where he’ll join CEOs from Meta, X, Snap and Discord to testify about their respective companies’ track records in protecting young users.
TikTok has drawn scrutiny from US lawmakers, who have warned that the China-based platform — whose user base is dominated by Gen Z, who are currently aged 11 to 26 — incorporates an algorithm that hands Americans’ user data over to the Chinese government.
Chew also has plans to highlight a number of policies regarding teen users that he says are unique to TikTok, Bloomberg reported, including that users under 16 on the app are barred from sending messages, and their videos cannot be downloaded or recommended to people they aren’t already connected to.
Those aged 17 and younger, meanwhile, have a pre-set screen limit of 60 minutes before a password is required to continue watching.
TikTok also uses technology to review public content for prohibited material, including sexually explicit images of children, as stated in Chew’s prepared testimony, which was obtained by Bloomberg.
Chew also prepares to let the committee know that the third-party tools the app uses to moderate its direct messages — PhotoDNA and Take It Down — will stay, Bloomberg reported.
Direct messages are moderated using third-party tools like PhotoDNA and Take It Down, Chew intends to say.
Representatives for TikTok and its corporate parent, ByteDance, did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Chew’s appearance at Wednesday’s congressional testimony marks the second time the 41-year-old will appear before the committee.
Last year, Chew’s visit to Capitol Hill was described as a “disaster moment” for TikTok after he angered lawmakers with evasive or unclear responses to lawmakers’ questions about the app’s ties to China and its failure to police harmful content for underage users.
Chew sought to assuage concerns with a similar-handsome, $1.5 billion investment in an initiative called “Project Texas,” in which the firm pledged to shift all US-centric data to servers maintained by tech giant Oracle.
Despite Chew’s testimony in March 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ administration barred TikTok from all government devices in August, saying the app poses “a security threat to the city’s technical networks.”