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Pappas, TikTok’s GM of Operations, Says Company Has No Plans to Leave U.S.

LOS ANGELES – Greek-Australian Vanessa Pappas, TikTok General Manager of Operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, on August 18 spoke with NBC News about the company, noting that it has “no plans to pull out of the United States even if it is not sold to a U.S. company,” and “also pushed back on claims that the app is a security threat.”

In an interview that aired on NBC’s Today show, Pappas said, “TikTok is here for the long run. We are more than confident in our future."

The interview took place less than two weeks after “President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned the company from doing business in the U.S. as of September 15,” NBC News reported, adding that “TikTok's owner, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, has reportedly been in talks to sell some or all of the app to a variety of possible buyers including Microsoft,” and “Oracle is also reportedly part of the bidding.”

Pappas said that “TikTok will continue to exist and will provide the same experience for users well after that deadline,” NBC News reported, adding that “the app, which allows users to create and view short videos set to music, has captured the hearts and minds of Generation Z,” and “it has more than 100 million users in the U.S., and a third of them are reportedly under the age of 13.”

“Trump and many lawmakers have argued that TikTok poses a threat to national security, primarily because they believe the Chinese Communist Party might use the service to access Americans' data,” NBC News reported, noting that “those fears come amid mounting tensions with China that could spark a new Cold War, in which technology will play a pivotal role,” but “Pappas denied that TikTok poses a threat to the U.S.”

She told NBC News, “We're not a national security threat. We have very strict data controls in place. We have an amazing team building a world-class infrastructure, and that's something that we put front and center in terms of protecting our users."

Pappas also said that “TikTok had become a victim of the ‘geopolitical tension’ between Washington and Beijing, and cited a recent CIA report that found no evidence that Chinese intelligence had accessed TikTok users' data,” NBC News reported.

The “tensions” will likely “force” ByteDance “to sell TikTok's U.S. business to a non-Chinese owner,” NBC News reported

“We definitely are committed to providing the exact same experience to our users today, in whatever scenario unfolds in the future,” Pappas told NBC News.

Pappas dismissed the notion of competition from TikTok-like services from other companies including Facebook and Google, noting that “you can certainly copy a feature, but you can't copy a community, and I think what's really unique about TikTok is this amazing community that has found a home on the platform,” NBC News reported.

The video of the interview is available online: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/top-u-s-tiktok-exec-says-it-s-here-long-n1237261.

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