TikTok Chief Chew To Testify Before US Congress

Image credit: US Senate

TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew to testify before US House of Representatives in March as lawmakers consider national app ban

TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew is to testify before the US Congress in March, as lawmakers prepare a bill that could ban the social media platform from the country on national security grounds.

Chew is to be the sole witness at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on 23 March, said the committee’s chair, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Monday.

He is to face questions on TikTok’s privacy and data security practices, its impact on young users and its “relationship to the Chinese Communist Party”, the committee said in a statement on its website.

“We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok,” McMorris Rodgers said. “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.”

TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew. Image credit: TikTok
TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew. Image credit: TikTok

Data concerns

She added that TikTok had “knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data”.

TikTok said in a statement it welcomed the opportunity to “set the record straight” about how it is addressing “concerns about US national security”.

“We hope that by sharing details of our comprehensive plans with the full Committee, Congress can take a more deliberative approach to the issues at hand,” the company said.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to hold a vote in February on a bill that would block the use of TikTok in the US on national security grounds.

US ban

US officials have said China’s government could force TikTok or parent ByteDance to hand over data on US users that could be used for intelligence or disinformation purposes.

As a result TikTok has been banned on official federal government devices, with more than half of US states passing similar measures.

The company, which has more than 100 million US users, has sought to assure lawmakers that US personal data can’t be accessed by the Chinese government or government-influenced organisations.