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Congress To Grill Owner Of TikTok Over Data Privacy Concerns And Safety Of Users



Congress To Grill Owner Of TikTok Over Data Privacy Concerns And Safety Of Users

The chief executive of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, is set to face a grilling from US lawmakers on Thursday as the political storm surrounding the China-owned social media platform intensifies with the Biden administration threatening to ban the app entirely in the US.

TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has long faced criticisms over the data it holds on US users – data that lawmakers fear could fall into the hands of the Chinese government. While the platform has repeatedly denied those claims, stating it stores US user data outside of China, legislators on both sides of the aisle have united in their backlash despite the growing popularity of the company.


In a statement announcing the hearing, Republican representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers claimed TikTok has “knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data”.

“Big tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society,” she said. “The energy and commerce committee has been at the forefront of asking big tech CEOs – from Facebook to Twitter to Google – to answer for their companies’ actions. These efforts will continue with TikTok.”

The appearance of Chew before the the energy and commerce committee, the first ever by a TikTok chief executive, will be a major test for the 40-year-old CEO who has previously remained largely out of the spotlight. He is expected to use his appearance to assuage lawmaker fears about data practices and commit to not allowing the Chinese government to influence TikTok in any way.


“Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country,” Chew said in a statement shared in advance of his testimony.

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