As lawmakers, including Rep. Kat Camamck, R-Fla., grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on Capitol Hill Thursday, a Stanford graduate student and his partners announced the creation of the "Collyge" app, which seeks to replace TikTok on college campuses. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
March 23 (UPI) -- As the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Thursday, a Stanford graduate student and his partners announced the creation of a social media platform that they say could replace TikTok for college students.
Ian Gunther, a Stanford varsity gymnast and high profile social media commentator on gymnastics, has been developing the "Collyge" app for two years in partnership with Connyct Inc, a technology platform that develops short-form video functionality.
Data from the Collyge app is encrypted and kept on servers in the U.S., keystrokes are not logged, sensitive user data is not stored, and only public-facing information is tracked, according to a press release from Connyct Thursday.
"Collyge creates an environment for my university peers to socialize in a safe and private manner with short-form video -- just as they are accustomed to do with TikTok," says Gunther.
"Collyge's key features were specifically designed for students while protecting its users from prying eyes. Most importantly, we do not monetize Collyge's user data; we keep it private. It's that simple," he continued.
Connyct CEO Warren Cohn said, "Collyge enables students to safely connect with each other without fear of others intruding, such as parents or future employers."
"As TikTok is banned on campuses throughout the country. We intend to be a short-form video replacement that's safe for consumption and build in the USA," he continued.
On Capitol Hill Thursday, Chew said "there are more than 150 million Americans who love our platform, and we know we have a responsibility to protect them."
Lawmakers were unimpressed by Chew's claims that TikTok plans to section off its U.S. information from the rest of the company.
"I still believe that the Beijing communist government will still control and have the ability to influence what you do," said Rep Frank Pallone, D-N.J.