The chief executive of TikTok has tried to assure the US Congress that TikTok, a Chinese-owned video app, is not an agent of Beijing and does not pose a threat to national security.
Deputies in Congress held hours of intense questioning for Shou Zi Chew, who were convinced that the popular app was a tool of the Chinese Communist Party.
Some also expressed concern that has 150 million American users and contains content that could harm children’s mental well-being.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce deputies pressed Mr. Chew on a variety of topics, ranging from TikTok’s content moderation practices to company spying on journalists.
Live: TikTok’s chief executive is questioned by the US Congress
“Mr Chew,” stated Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the committee.
“TikTok repeatedly chose a path that would allow for greater control, surveillance, and manipulation.”
Mr Chew stated that ByteDance, its parent company, prioritises safety for its young users and denied claims of national security risks.
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He stated, “Let me be clear: ByteDance does not represent China or any other country.”
He reiterated that the company will protect US user data using information stored on Oracle servers.
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Many of the deputies found Mr Chew’s answers vague. One of them, Tony Cardenas said that the chief executive was a “good singer with words”.
More pressure on and more bans
TikTok has come under increased scrutiny for its security, data privacy. There are concerns that it could be used to promote pro Beijing views or gather user information – something TikTok strongly rejects.
The app will be reblocked from the devices of parliament and the network in the UK.
Over concerns about cyber attacks, the EU Commission along with more than half of US States and Congress have already banned staff phones. The UK government followed suit last week.
China stated that it will not support any US efforts to force ByteDance into selling the app.