TikTok’s top U.S. employee said the platform is “not planning on going anywhere” after President Donald Trump announced late Friday he plans to ban it.
“We’ve heard your outpouring of support, and we want to say thank you. We’re not planning on going anywhere,” U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas said in a video message on Saturday.
Pappas highlighted how the company, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, employs 1,500 people in America. TikTok plans on hiring another 10,000 people in the next three years.
“When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app, because we know it’s the right thing to do. So we appreciate the support, we’re here for the long run, and continue to share your voice here and let’s stand for TikTok,” she added.
Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he will sign an executive order as early as Saturday banning TikTok from the United States.
Cyber experts warn that the app acts as spyware for the Chinese regime and the House of Representatives voted last month to ban TikTok from all government-issued devices. A slew of companies and groups, including Wells Fargo, have warned employees against using the app or ordered them to remove it from their devices.
“What the American people have to understand is all the data that goes into those mobile apps that kids have so much fun with and seem so convenient, it goes right to servers in China, right to the Chinese military, the Chinese Communist Party, and the agencies that want to steal our intellectual property,” White House advisor Peter Navarro said during an appearance on Fox News last month.
The Chinese Community Party rules China. It has perpetrated a raft of human rights violations since coming to power in 1949, including harvesting organs from religious dissidents. The party currently holds over one million Uyghurs in concentration camps. Uyghurs are an ethnic minority whose land was taken over by China in 1949.
In a separate statement issued Friday night after Trump’s announcement, TikTok said more than 100 million Americans use the app for “entertainment and connection,” especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access. TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” a spokesperson told news outlets.
The American Civil Liberties Union was among the groups and individuals opposing a ban.
“Banning an app like TikTok, which millions of Americans use to communicate with each other, is a danger to free expression and technologically impractical,” the group said in a statement.
Ivan Pentchoukov and Isabel Van Brugen contributed to this report.