TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, with the tech executive receiving bipartisan questioning about the video platform’s ability to protect U.S. consumer information from ending up in the hands of Chinese leaders.
The hearing has focused on members’ concerns about the app’s data privacy, protections for children online and TikTok’s connection to the Chinese Communist Party. Chew tried to persuade members of the Committee that personal information will be protected on U.S. servers located in the country where Chinese officials will not have access to them. Most committee members, however, remained unconvinced.
Chew said in his opening statement that the app is safe and secure and that it shouldn’t be banned. He also noted that 150 million people in the U.S. are active TikTok users and that the app has developed a loyal following in the United States. Chew said he is committed to keeping their information safe and relieve lawmakers’ fears of content manipulation and safeguarding information: “There are more than 150 million Americans who love our platform, and we know we have a responsibility to protect them, which is why I’m making the following commitments to you and our users.” Chew repeatedly pushed back against concerns about China’s access to TikTok data: “I understand that there are concerns stemming from the inaccurate belief that TikTok’s corporate structure makes it beholden to the Chinese government or that it shares information about U.S. users with the Chinese government,” he said in his prepared statement. “This is emphatically untrue.”
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