TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to address concerns regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s influence over the app, according to a press release.
TikTok has come under heavy scrutiny for reportedly selling user data to the CCP for propaganda purposes and been criticized for the sexual exploitation of minors, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chew is set to appear before the committee on March 23 as the lone witness during the panel, according to the press release.
Committee chair Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said that “Big Tech” has become a “destructive force in American society” in the press release.
“ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data,” Rodgers said. “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. 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.”
A TikTok spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company “welcome[s] the opportunity to set the record straight” and disputed Rodgers claims.
“The Chinese Communist Party has neither direct nor indirect control of ByteDance or TikTok,” the spokesperson said. “Moreover, under the proposal we have devised with our country’s top national security agencies through CFIUS, that kind of data sharing—or any other form of foreign influence over the TikTok platform in the United States—would not be possible.”
TikTok has been accused of allowing sexual abuse and exploitation of minors on the app despite the company’s assurance that their policies “prohibit content that depicts or disseminates child abuse, child nudity, or sexual exploitation of children in digital or real-world format.” In January, the company announced a $1.5 billion plan to promote transparency within the app as a result of the increased concerns of the Chinese government’s interference, according to the WSJ.
The Republican National Committee passed a resolution last week calling for a federal ban of TikTok on all government employee devices, as well as encouraging citizens to get rid of the app on their personal phones, laptops and other electronics, according to Bloomberg. Multiple Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to ban the app in the past, and some states have individually banned the app for state employees.
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