As Congress explores legislation to potentially outlaw the Chinese-owned app nationally and analyzes security issues about it, the CEO of TikTok Shou Zi Chew will testify before a House committee in March.
Chew will provide testimony on March 23. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the committee’s chairperson, made the announcement on Monday. She said that the hearing’s themes will cover TikTok’s data security procedures and its effects on minors.
In a statement, Rodgers said that big tech had turned into a “destructive force in the American culture” and that her committee’s attempts to rein in these big tech firms, in general, included looking into TikTok, which is controlled by the Beijing-based ByteDance and extremely well-liked among young Americans.
“TikTok, which is controlled by ByteDance, has deliberately given the Chinese Communist Party access to user information from the United States. Americans have a right to know how these activities affect their data security and privacy, as well as what steps TikTok is taking to protect our children from danger both offline and online. We have been vocal about our issues with TikTok. It’s time to bring TikTok before the committee to give the public full and truthful answers as part of the committee’s ongoing efforts to hold Big Tech responsible.”
Senator Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) measure to prohibit TikTok on most federal govt. devices was passed into law by way of the year-end omnibus funding agreement in Dec., and Hawley and others have been pushing for a complete ban on the app. This statement by Rodgers follows these developments.
Along with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who leads the recently established Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between both the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party, filed bipartisan legislation to outlaw the app in December.
TikTok, notorious for its brief user-generated videos pushed by a highly addictive algorithm, was dubbed “digital fentanyl” by Gallagher.
According to Gallagher, “allowing the app to continue operating in the United States would be comparable to enabling the Soviet Union to acquire the New York Times, Washington Post, and major television networks during the Cold War. It is time to prohibit TikTok and every other CCP-controlled app before it is too late. No government with even a passing interest in their own security would let this happen.”
TikTok is presently used by around 100 million Americans, according to a Statista estimate.