TikTok CEO to testify in US Congress over security issues
TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew will appear before the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee in March as lawmakers scrutinize the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.
Chew will testify before the committee on March 23, which will be his first appearance before a congressional committee, said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican chair of the panel, in a statement on Monday.
The news comes as the House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to hold a vote next month on a bill aimed at blocking the use of TikTok in the United States over national security concerns.
“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.
TikTok confirmed on Monday Chew will testify.
TikTok said on Friday, “calls for total bans of TikTok take a piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues like data security, privacy, and online harms.”
McMorris Rodgers and other Republican lawmakers have demanded more information from TikTok. They want to know its impact on young people amid concerns about harmful content, and they want additional details on the potential sexual exploitation of minors on the platform, the statement said.
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For three years, TikTok – which has more than 100 million U.S. users – has been seeking to assure Washington that the personal data of U.S. citizens cannot be accessed and its content cannot be manipulated by China’s Communist Party or anyone else under Beijing’s influence.
The U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a powerful national security body 2020, ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears that U.S. user data could be passed onto China’s government.
CFIUS and TikTok have been in talks for more than two years, aiming to reach a national security agreement to protect the data of U.S. TikTok users.