TikTok’s COO Vanessa Pappas Steps Down Amid Security Concerns

Vanessa Pappas, chief operating officer at Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok, is stepping down from her position after nearly five years with the company. The announcement comes at a crucial time for TikTok as it faces scrutiny worldwide over security concerns due to its Chinese ownership.

Pappas, who is US-based and has been with the company since 2018, played a vital role in TikTok’s growth and success in the American market. She was promoted to interim head in 2020 when then-CEO Kevin Mayer left the company after only three months in the role.

In a note sent to employees and later shared on Twitter, Pappas expressed her gratitude to the team for their tireless efforts and announced that she would be taking on an advisory role for the company moving forward.

“TikTok has been an incredible journey, and I can’t thank the amazing team enough for all they have done to help me and the company,” Pappas said in her note. “Given all the successes reached at TikTok, I finally feel the time is right to move on and refocus on my entrepreneurial passions.”

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew expressed his gratitude for Pappas’ significant and lasting impact on the company and announced an organizational shakeup with Adam Presser becoming the company’s head of operations and Zenia Mucha joining as the Chief Brand and Communications Officer.

In the meantime, TikTok faces concerns about data privacy and security, U.S. lawmakers have introduced new legislation to protect Americans’ user data from being used by U.S. adversaries. The company is currently negotiating its data privacy plans with the Biden administration.

Despite these challenges, the firm remains one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion active users embracing its short-form videos and viral challenge format.

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the video-sharing app, recently expanded its online retail offerings to enable the selling of products directly through its platform, PYMNTS reported.

Dubbed internally as “Project S,” the initiative aims to directly compete with the likes of Shein, a fast-fashion brand, and Temu, a social media-driven app affiliated with Pinduoduo that specializes in affordable product offerings.