TikTok’s CEO is facing tough questions from US representatives, who believe the Chinese-owned short-video app should be banned as a “tool” of the Communist Party of China and because it contains content that could harm people especially children, reports RTE.
CEO Shou Zi Chew’s testimony before Congress capped a week of actions by the Chinese company aimed at convincing Americans and their politicians that the app creates economic value and supports free speech amid growing calls to ban the app.
TikTok, which has more than 150 million US users, has come under fire repeatedly during the ongoing hearing, where none of the representatives has offered any support.
Many have spoken of the need to control the power of apps on American children, reports RTE.
At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Representative Cathy Castor, a Democrat, said, “TikTok could be designed to minimise the harm to kids but a decision was made to aggressively addict kids in the name of profits,” reports RTE.
Concerns have also been raised by Republicans and Democrats about its potential to jeopardize US national security by sharing its data with the Chinese government.
TikTok said it has spent more than $1.5 billion on stringent data security efforts under the name “Project Texas,” which currently has about 1,500 full-time employees and has partnered with Oracle Corp to archive the data. of US TikTok users. It also says it strictly controls content that could harm children.
Representatives dismissed TikTok’s responses as inadequate.
Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, set the tone for the hearing by saying, “TikTok collects nearly every data point imaginable – from people’s location to what they type and copy, who they talk to, to biometric data and more. We do not trust TikTok will ever embrace American values – values for freedom, human rights and innovation,” she said, adding that the Chinese Communist Party “is able to use (TikTok) as a tool to manipulate America as a whole,” reports RTE.
Mr. Chew, who began his testimony by talking about his Singaporean roots, said, “We do not promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government,” reports RTE.
Many US lawmakers want Tiktok banned.
TikTok said last week that President Joe Biden’s administration has asked its Chinese owner to withdraw its stake or face a possible ban.
China’s Commerce Ministry said in a briefing today that “forcing the sale of TikTok will seriously damage the confidence of investors from all over the world, including China, to invest in the United States. If the news is true, China will firmly oppose it,” reports RTE.
Democrat Senator Mark Warner said yesterday that two other senators along with Republican John Thune supported his bipartisan legislation to give the Biden administration new powers to ban TikTok, for a total of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
Tiktok representatives are expected to appear before the Oireachtas media committee next week.
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