TikTok is committing to allocate $2 billion (S$2.7 billion) in 2024 to enhance the safety of children and other users on its platform, surpassing 170 million monthly active users in the United States.
CEO Chew Shou Zi is slated to unveil this initiative during a testimony before the Senate judiciary committee on January 31, alongside counterparts from Meta Platforms, X, Snap, and Discord. The hearing will focus on examining the measures social media firms are taking to protect youth online.
Chew will announce that the company plans to invest over $2 billion in 2024 globally on trust and safety efforts, involving a team of more than 40,000 individuals. This disclosure highlights ByteDance’s rapid expansion in the US and its ability to attract both users and advertising revenue away from competitors like Facebook, Instagram, and Alphabet’s Google.
TikTok’s US user base, with an average age exceeding 30, has seen significant growth, reaching more than 150 million in 2023.
This marks Chew’s second appearance before Congress; in 2023, he testified at a House hearing focused on potential national security threats due to its Chinese ownership. This time, he will share the witness table with industry rivals.
Chew will also emphasize several policies unique to TikTok regarding teen users.
Chew will also emphasize several policies unique to TikTok regarding teen users. For instance, users under 16 cannot send messages on the app, and their videos cannot be downloaded or recommended to individuals not already connected to them. Users aged 17 and younger have a preset screen limit of 60 minutes before requiring a password to continue watching.
Addressing concerns about explicit content, TikTok employs technology to review public content for prohibited material related to children. Additionally, direct messages are moderated using third-party tools like PhotoDNA and Take It Down, according to Chew’s prepared testimony.