The morning after President Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he would ban TikTok in the US, the app’s millions of users were greeted with a message from TikTok’s US general manager, Vanessa Pappas. Pappas, as the first voice American users were hearing in the wake of panic and concern over the app’s uncertain future, vowed that TikTok is “not planning on going anywhere.”
Pappas has been the most senior person guiding TikTok’s US presence since joining the company in January 2019, just three months after the app debuted in the US. She’s overseen TikTok’s day-to-day US operations, all the while fielding concerns about content moderation, user-data security, and transparency. Under her leadership, TikTok’s US operations have boomed to nearly 1,500 employees, and expanded to multiple US cities.
TikTok now has more than 100 million monthly users in the US, and was last valued between $30 billion and $50 billion.
As national-security concerns remain high, Pappas is tasked with demonstrating the independence of TikTok’s operations, as well as its distance from its parent company in China. Pappas is the point-person in figuring out how to hold onto its user base and prevent lawmakers from issuing dismantling the app, and the lucrative industries it has spurred.