TikTok CEO To Testify Before US Congress Over Data Privacy – Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23 to testify on privacy concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. This marks Chew’s first appearance before Congress amid escalating legislative battles over TikTok in the US. The confirmation was made by Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in a statement Monday.
TikTok is facing increasing scrutiny in the US after being banned on government and school devices in several states, and on federal devices following a ban passed by Congress in December. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is set to vote on a bill aimed at completely blocking TikTok’s use in the US next month. “ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist party to access American user data,” McMorris Rodgers said, adding that Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security.
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TikTok has denied these claims, stating: “The Chinese Communist party has neither direct nor indirect control of ByteDance or TikTok,” according to a company spokesman. It was then confirmed on Monday that Chew will testify. “We welcome the opportunity to set the record straight about TikTok, ByteDance and the commitments we are making to address concerns about US national security before the House committee on energy and commerce,” the spokesman said, adding the company hopes “by sharing details of our comprehensive plans with the full committee, Congress can take a more deliberative approach to the issues at hand.”
Republican lawmakers, including McMorris Rodgers, have called for TikTok to provide more information on the effects of the app on young people, the potential presence of harmful content, and the possibility of minors being sexually exploited on the platform. In 2020, the Trump administration aimed to ban TikTok with an executive order preventing US firms from conducting business with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent firm. Since then, TikTok has tried to assure the US government that US user data can’t be accessed or influenced by the Chinese Communist Party or those under Beijing’s control.
Biden revoked the Trump administration’s ban on the platform in June 2021, but with the condition that a security review by the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) be carried out, and a plan for avoiding a permanent ban be proposed. The review has been ongoing for over two years as CFIUS and TikTok hold discussions to secure a national security agreement for US user data protection. The White House declined to comment on Friday regarding potential legislative ban on TikTok or the current state of the talks.
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