TikTok CEO?Says?Not Much?Room?for?Clarifying Facts in Congress?Hearing

2023.03.24 22:57  來自北京

TikTok CEO Show Zi Chew faced a five-hour grilling by a bipartisan group of lawmakers at a U.S. congressional hearing on Thursday.

BEIJING, March 24 (TMTPOST) – Chinese short video company ByteDance’s subsidiary TikTok CEO Show Zi Chew said Friday in an internal letter that he was not given much room to clarify the facts in Thursday’s lengthy U.S. congress hearing about the company’s operations in the United States.

On Thursday, Chew answered questions on data security, national security threats and related issues during his testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. During the hearing, over 50 members of Congress asked many aggressive and harsh questions regarding Chow’s defense. They painted TikTok as a danger to national security, alleging that it violated people’s privacy, harmed the mental wellbeing of adolescents, and played a part in the deaths of some young individuals.

Following the hearing, Chew shared an internal letter with his colleagues at ByteDance, describing the hearing as challenging and saying that there was not much room for him to clarify the facts “as anticipated.” He added that he said a lot in the hearing that lasted over five hours and he was “still digesting it.” He also reiterated TikTok’s commitment to protecting youth safety, data privacy, and other issues of concern.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington state and chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stated, “TikTok has repeatedly chosen the path for more control, more surveillance and more manipulation. Your platform should be banned.” In response, Chow argued that a ban on TikTok would be a setback for free speech. The app, which supports a myriad of small businesses and creators, has 150 million users in the United States. He also emphasized that there are also 5 million U.S. business users on the platform, many of whom are small or medium-sized businesses. This implies that prohibiting the app would negatively impact a vast number of individuals and businesses that rely on TikTok for income.

Lawmakers also alleged TikTok had a negative impact on America’s youth. Currently, 67 percent of American teenagers use the app, but it has faced criticism for being too addictive and potentially exposing them to harmful content. Representative Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat, accused TikTok of prioritizing profits over child safety. “TikTok could be designed to minimize the harm to kids, but a decision was made to aggressively addict kids in the name of profits,” said Castor. In response, Chow stated that the app has been working to limit the repetition of potentially harmful content, such as videos featuring extreme sports. He also mentioned that TikTok’s guidelines prohibit content that promotes self-harm or eating disorders.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a multinational corporation headquartered in Beijing. Recently, the app has faced bans on government phones in several countries, including the United States and Britain. Last week, the U.S. government demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their shares and said that the app would risk a ban in the U.S. otherwise. Hours before the hearing, China’s Commerce Ministry said that the Chinese government had the power to veto the sale. “The sale or divestiture of TikTok involves technology export issues and must follow administrative licensing procedures according to Chinese laws and regulations, and the Chinese government will make a decision in accordance with the law,” a spokesperson said.

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