The head of TikTok is reportedly planning a trip to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with lawmakers who have harshly criticized the app over its purported ties to the Chinese government and concerns over censorship and privacy.
This appears to be
the first visit that the TikTok chief, Alex Zhu, has been called to account for the short video-sharing platform. TikTok has become an oft-discussed target among those in the US government, who recently opened a national security investigation and have
questioned how close the relationship is between the platform and its China-based parent company, ByteDance.
TikTok has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times globally, an indicator of its rapid rise as a platform -- especially loved by teens
-- for creating and sharing short videos and launching the latest viral memes across the internet.
TikTok has faced increasing scrutiny over ties to its parent company, a $75 billion company based out of China called ByteDance. TikTok has
consistently defended itself by asserting that none of its moderators are based in China, and that no foreign government asks the platform to censor content. However when pro-democracy protests broke out in Hong Kong earlier this year, TikTok was
curiously devoid of any hints of unrest, and videos instead documented a prettier picture.