Republican and Democratic lawmakers banded together to criticize TikTok’s CEO on Thursday over the app ‘ risky effects on children, the gathering of British information, and relationships to the Chinese Communist Party in a remarkable show of bipartisanship.
The app’s” invasive surveillance practices ,” its” Beijing Communist – based China ownership ,” and its promotion of” suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders to children”— indicating the strong appetite on Capitol Hill for banning the social media site— were the subject of intense criticism from House Energy and Commerce Committee members. TikTok CEO Shou Chew struggled to respond.
Committee president Cathy McMorris Rodgers( R., Wash.) stated in her opening speech that” Your system may be banned.” I anticipate that you’ll say to right to prevent this result. We don’t believe it.
Frank Pallone, Rep.( D., N. J.. The committee’s top Democrat, who agreed with” much of what [ McMorris Rodgers ] just said ,” argued that TikTok is more dangerous to our nation and our privacy because of the combination of its popularity and its Beijing Communist-based China ownership.
In light of warnings from regional security officials that the widely used system gathers U.S. information that can be used for Chinese monitoring and advertising operations, Congress has been considering many bills to limit or outlaw the app. It also demonstrates that most Democrats have serious concerns about TikTok despite the Biden administration’s and some left-wing activist organizations’ reluctance to support an outright ban on the game.
Rep. Tony Cardenas( D., Calif. ) told Chew,” You have, in truth, been one of the few individuals to join this commission, affiliates Republicans and Democrats, to be in agreement that we are frustrated with TikTok, we’re unhappy with tikTk.” The TikTok CEO was welcomed by Buddy Carter( R., Ga. ) to” the most bipartisan committee in Congress.”
Chew stated to the commission that TikTok” took their issues very, very seriously” and that the company is working on a” network” to rescue U.S. data. He also referred to” safety, especially for teenagers, as the top concern for us.” He also criticized TikTok’s family industry ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, for giving the Chinese government control over the system.
The Taiwanese politics does not own or control ByteDance. It’s a privately held business, Chew said.
Chew, however, remained deceptive when questioned thereafter about ByteDance’s connections to China and youth-targeted algorithms, which infuriated a number of committee members.
I’m never requesting your perspective. In actuality, is [ ByteDance ] a Chinese business or not? Chew refused to provide a sharp response when Cardenas demanded in one tense trade.
Chew responded,” I usually have this conversation with others about what is a organization that is now worldwide ,” to which Cardenas retorted,’ I prefer you answer the question and start dancing verbally.
Rep. Kat Cammack( R., Fla. ) pressed Chew regarding a TikTok user’s post that threatened violence at the committee hearing, which she claimed was posted on the platform 41 days prior, before the hearing was made public.
The post, which featured an image of a gunshot, stated,” Me asf at the House Energy and Commerce Committee on 3 / 23 / 2023.”
This, according to Cammack,” remains on the platform despite being a special danger to the president of this committee and the people in this room.”
When you can’t even protect the people in this room,” You expect us to think that you are capable of maintaining the data security, privacy, and confidentiality of 150 million Americans?” She enquired.
Most users voiced concern that TikTok’s techniques promoted video content that encouraged drug use, body insecurities, and mental health issues in teenagers, pregnant women, or vulnerable populations. Chew stated that he was unable to specify how much of the platform’s content was” possibly dangerous.”
According to Carter,” There are those on this commission, including myself, who believe the Chinese Communist Party is using TikTok to engage in cognitive warfare to purposefully change American children.”
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