TikTok CEO Comes Out Swinging Against Forced-Sale Law: ‘Rest Assured, We Aren’t Going Anywhere’

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TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has pushed back against the new law requiring ByteDance to sell the app or face a U.S. ban. Photo Credit: Jonathan Kemper

As his company prepares legal actions opposing its forced sale in the U.S., TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has come out swinging against the relevant law.

TikTok itself penned a brief response to the “unconstitutional ban,” after President Biden yesterday signed the appropriate legislation (along with a number of other measures) into law. Per said law’s text, TikTok parent ByteDance now has about nine months, with a possible three-month extension, to divest from or shut down the video-sharing app in the States.

Predictably, TikTok, far from preparing to accept the situation quietly, has emphasized plans to challenge the law in court, also underscoring the belief that it “will ultimately prevail.” Not stopping there, the company’s CEO put out a lengthy video statement, as mentioned, touching on everything from the platform’s purported data-security efforts to the perceived impact of a ban.

“Rest assured,” the Singapore-born exec communicated, “we aren’t going anywhere. We are confident, and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail again.”

Despite the possible ban it’s staring down, TikTok is in many ways continuing to operate as usual.

Today, the platform reached out with a fresh “Global Music Newsletter,” described as a “new monthly look at the songs and artists from around the world trending on TikTok.” Among other things, the newsletter highlighted the 1.5 million “Add to Music App” uses that Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department racked up during the first two days it was available to fans.

On the other side of the equation, TikTok’s high-profile users are likewise continuing to utilize the app (mostly) as normal. Notwithstanding its uncertain U.S. future – and its music industry confrontation – the service remains a key promotional tool for the likes of Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, both of whom have plugged forthcoming albums in their bios.

In another testament to TikTok’s reach – especially with younger demographics – President Biden’s official campaign account is still live on the platform as well. Having last posted yesterday, this account is rather unsurprisingly being inundated with comments from ticked-off TikTokers upset about the forced-sale bill.

Here are the complete remarks delivered by TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about the legislation’s passage.

“Hi, everyone. It’s Shou here. As you may have heard, Congress passed a bill that the president signed into law that is designed to ban TikTok in the United States.

That will take TikTok away from you and 170 million Americans who find community and connection on our platform. Make no mistake, this is a ban – a ban on TikTok and a ban on you and your voice. Politicians may say otherwise, but don’t get confused. Many who sponsored the bill admit a TikTok ban is their ultimate goal.

It’s obviously a disappointing moment, but it does not need to be a defining one. It’s actually ironic, because the freedom of expression on TikTok reflects the same American values that make the United States a beacon of freedom.

TikTok gives everyday Americans a powerful way to be seen and heard, and that’s why so many people have made TikTok part of their daily lives. Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere. We are confident, and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail again.

Our community is filled with people who have found acceptance and compassion, offered inspiration and encouragement, increased their awareness and broadened their perspectives, ultimately adding more delight and joy to their lives. Our community is also filled with seven million businessowners who have built their livelihoods on TikTok.

While we make our case in court, you’ll still be able to enjoy TikTok like you always have. In fact, if you have a story about how TikTok impacts your life, we would love for you to share it, to showcase exactly what we’re fighting for.

Meanwhile, we will continue to invest and innovate to keep our community vibrant, exciting, and safe. Through our U.S. data-security efforts, we have built safeguards that no other peer company has made. We have invested billions of dollars to secure your data and keep our platform free from outside manipulation.

I can’t say this enough: This extraordinary, diverse community is what makes TikTok so special, what makes it matter, and what makes it meaningful. And we’ll keep working to ensure you will always have the opportunity, the safety, and the freedom to enjoy all TikTok has to offer. Thank you.”