TikTok CEO to Testify on Platform's 'Impact on Kids' and Its 'Relationship With the Chinese Communist Party'


The head of the massively popular social media app TikTok will deliver testimony before a House committee.

In a statement on Monday, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) announced TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before the panel.

A press release explained his testimony will focus on “TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.”

“It will be Chew’s first appearance before a Congressional committee,” it added.

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In a statement, McMorris Rodgers said, “Big Tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society. The Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of asking Big Tech CEOs – from Facebook to Twitter to Google – to answer for their companies’ actions. These efforts will continue with TikTok.”

“ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data. Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms,” she continued.

She added, “We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people.” 

The hearing is scheduled to take place on March 23.

Will you be watching this hearing?

The hearing comes amid growing concerns about the social media app. Several states have banned it from state-owned devices. The app has also been banned on devices issued by the federal government.

Critics have raised concerns about the social media app’s parent company ByteDance, a Chinese company.

There are fears users’ private data, such as browser history or location, could wind up in the hands of the Chinese government or that the popular app could be used to push misinformation.

In June, BuzzFeed reported that China-based employees of TikTok’s parent company had accessed nonpublic data from users of the app.

TikTok has claimed users’ data is secure because it is not stored in China. However, Axios notes, along with the June Buzzfeed report, “a series of recent reports have challenged” the company’s claim about the security of users’ data.

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Brendan Carr, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, told Axios he believes the app should be banned in the U.S. due to concerns about data security and also China potentially using the platform to influence elections.

“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” he said.

Carr added he believes there is not “a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].”

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