TikTok CEO Testifies Before Congress: Here Are Some of the Key Moments

TikTok CEO Shou Chew on Thursday confronted skeptical lawmakers within the US Congress to attempt to fend off calls to ban the massively standard video app. 

“There are greater than 150 million People who love our platform, and we all know we now have a accountability to guard them,” Chew mentioned in remarks ready for his look earlier than the Home Vitality and Commerce Committee. 

Earlier this month, the Biden administration demanded that ByteDance, the app’s Chinese language dad or mum firm, promote its stake within the app or face a attainable ban. Officers are involved TikTok could possibly be compelled to share US person information with the Chinese language authorities, posing a nationwide safety risk. In December, US lawmakers banned the app from authorities gadgets. Different international locations, together with Canada, EU member states and Taiwan, have taken related steps. 

Lawmakers on Thursday repeatedly questioned Chew about ByteDance’s ties to the Chinese language authorities, expressing doubt TikTok would be capable to defend US customers’ information. Additionally they alleged that TikTok could possibly be utilized by the Chinese language authorities to affect public opinion within the US. 

Although the primary thrust of the listening to targeted on alleged ties to China, lawmakers additionally touched on different issues, together with information assortment and defending teenagers and younger folks from dangerous content material on TikTok. 

Following the listening to, TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter mentioned the listening to was “dominated by political grandstanding” and failed to handle industry-wide points. 

“Additionally not talked about at present by members of the Committee: the livelihoods of the 5 million companies on TikTok or the First Modification implications of banning a platform cherished by 150 million People,” mentioned Oberwetter.

Listed below are a number of the most attention-grabbing feedback from the listening to:

Committee Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in her opening assertion: “Mr. Chew, you might be right here as a result of the American folks want the reality concerning the risk TikTok poses to our nationwide and private safety. TikTok collects practically each information level possible, from folks’s location to what they sort and duplicate, biometric information and extra. … TikTok surveils us all. And the Chinese language Communist Social gathering is ready to use this as a software to govern America as a complete. We don’t belief TikTok will ever embrace American values.”

She continued: “TikTok has repeatedly chosen a path for extra management, extra surveillance and extra manipulation. Your platform needs to be banned. I count on at present you will say something to keep away from this end result.”

Chew, in his opening assertion: “Now we have heard necessary issues concerning the potential for undesirable overseas entry to US information and potential manipulation of the TikTok US ecosystem. Now we have addressed them with actual motion. … That is what we have been doing for the final two years, constructing what quantities to a firewall that seals off protected US person information from unauthorized overseas entry. The underside line is that this: American information, saved on American soil, by an American firm, overseen by American personnel. We name this initiative Mission Texas.” 

Chew, on legacy US information: “Now we have legacy US information sitting in our servers in Virginia and in Singapore. We’re deleting these and we count on that to be full this 12 months. When that’s completed, all protected US information might be beneath the safety of US legislation and beneath the management of the US led safety staff. This eliminates the priority that a few of you’ve got shared with me that TikTok person information will be topic to Chinese language legislation.” 

Rep. Buddy Carter, on dangerous viral movies just like the Milk Crate problem: “Why is it that TikTok constantly fails to establish and reasonable these sorts of dangerous movies? Why is it that you simply permit this to go on? We have already heard … from mother and father who’re right here with us who’ve misplaced youngsters.”

Chew responds: “It is a actual {industry} problem and we’re engaged on our…”

Carter: “No, no, it is not {industry}. That is TikTok. We’re speaking about TikTok. We’re speaking about why is it that you would be able to’t management this. … Inform me why this goes on.”

Rep. Darren Soto, on ByteDance possession: “Mr. Chew, would TikTok be ready to divest from ByteDance and Chinese language Communist Social gathering ties if the Division of Treasury instructed you all to take action?”

Chew responds: “I do not assume possession is the problem right here. With lots of respect, American social firms haven’t got an excellent observe report with information privateness and person safety. I imply have a look at Fb and Cambridge Analytica, only for one instance.”

Rep. Neal Dunn asks Chew straight: “Has ByteDance spied on People on the route of the Chinese language Communist Social gathering?”

Chew responds: “No.”

Dunn follows up, citing a Forbes article that ByteDance deliberate to make use of TikTok to watch the situation of US residents: “I ask you once more, Mr. Chew: Has ByteDance spied on Americans?”

Chew responds: “I do not assume that spying is the fitting technique to describe it. That is in the end…” Dunn cuts off his response.

Rep. August Pfluger, on Mission Texas: “Please rename your mission. Texas shouldn’t be the suitable title. We stand for freedom and transparency, and we do not need your mission.”

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Watch TikTok CEO’s Opening Assertion at Congress


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