TikTok unveiled its “most comprehensive” update to its community guidelines to date Tuesday before CEO Shou Zi Chew’s upcoming meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
March 21 (UPI) -- TikTok unveiled its "most comprehensive" update to its community guidelines to date Tuesday before CEO Shou Zi Chew's upcoming meeting with lawmakers in Washington.
The rules update includes policies for AI-generated media, and politician and government-run accounts. It comes as the federal government has stepped up its scrutiny of the social media app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
Chew posted a video to TikTok recognizing the app surpassing 150 million users in the United States. He said the U.S. user base includes 5 million businesses, a majority of which are small and medium-sized businesses.
"Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok," he said. "Now this could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you. Let me know in the comments what you want your elected representatives to know about what you love about TikTok."
Chew also said there are 7,000 TikTok employees in the United States.
The CEO plans to explain to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee later this week what TikTok does to protect its users in the United States.
TikTok's updated guidelines make a specific point to explain its policy to combat misinformation and protect the integrity of elections. Paid political promotions, political advertising and political fundraising are not allowed on the app. Misinformation about civic and electoral processes also are prohibited. Content that violates these rules, including misinformation about the results of an election, will be kept from appearing on users' feeds.
State and federal lawmakers have continually questioned TikTok's use of user data and whether it would turn over to the Chinese government any information about users. President Joe Biden signed legislation -- passed by the House and Senate -- to ban TikTok from government devices. The Biden administration has since threatened to ban TikTok in the United States completely unless its Chinese owners sell their stakes in the company.
On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst introduced a bill to block companies who partner and advertise with TikTok from receiving federal funds. Rubio introduced the bill to ban the app from government devices in December.
"They are either naive, greedy, or both. Regardless, they shouldn't receive taxpayer dollars if they are going to accept money from or partner with TikTok," Rubio said in a statement. "These companies need to stop enabling Chinese Communist Party propaganda and espionage efforts."
TikTok claims that data on U.S. users is stored outside of China and it has taken steps to prevent that data from being procured by a foreign entity.