TikTok’s CEO faced a difficult time during Thursday’s Congressional testimony where he defended the popular app against allegations of being a tool for communist China’s spying activities. But his defense was quickly met with accusations of promoting dangerous and deadly trends for American children, and concerns over the platform’s ties to the Chinese government. Despite the numerous questions, Chew refused to admit the involvement of the Chinese government in TikTok’s operations, further adding to the controversial nature of the app. Keep watching to discover the top moments from Chew’s testimony that you cannot afford to miss.
Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday that “spying” was not the right term to describe Chinese surveillance of Americans.
Chew was asked by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) if TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, spied on Americans, to which he replied, “I don’t think that ‘spying’ is the right way to describe it.”
As lawmakers continue to debate whether an outright ban on TikTok or privacy legislation is needed to address the concerns surrounding the popular yet controversial app, concerns about its national security implications and privacy implications have reached a fever pitch in Washington, DC. Other people have called for the separation of TikTok and ByteDance.
Despite being based in China, TikTok has proposed to protect U.S. users’ data through “Project Texas,” which will store all U.S. data on local servers. However, when pressed by Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) about whether or not the Chinese Communist Party has access to U.S. user data in the meantime, Chew admitted, “yes.”
During the hearing, Representative Latta also criticized TikTok for hosting dangerous trends that have killed American teens and children:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) also tore into TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, accusing him and his company of targeting American children and feeding data to the Chinese Communist Party.
During a blistering opening statement, Rodgers, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that the platform specifically and intentionally targets children outside of communist China.
Then, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) asked Chew whether ByteDance employees directly assisted him with his testimony. The CEO neglected to provide a clear answer.
Chew’s testimony provides a clear indication of the growing concerns over the social media platform. From accusations of promoting dangerous trends that can result in the death of American children, to the possibility of being used as a mechanism for spying on Americans, the app continues to be scrutinized by lawmakers in Washington. The refusal of the CEO to clearly answer questions regarding TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese government has only added fuel to the fire. It seems that there is much more to be uncovered about this controversial platform, and the consequences of using it continue to be a matter of concern for many.
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