TikTok and hundreds of other Chinese applications, including the messaging app WeChat, were banned countrywide in 2020 due to privacy and security concerns.
The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, appeared before the US Congress amidst rising security concerns and the possibility of Chinese government control on the firm.
Chew faced harsh questioning before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as he verbally danced to defend Facebook’s “serious effort” to address national security concerns.
Security issues emanating from the United States
During a four-hour hearing, Chew repeatedly emphasized that the TikTok app, which is owned by the Chinese technology company Bytedance, has long claimed that it does not share data with the Chinese government and does not represent a threat to its 150 million U.S. users (CCP).
During her line of inquiry, US Representative Debbie Lesko cited India and other nations that have lately outlawed TikTok in some manner.
“This (TikTok) is a tool that is ultimately controlled by the Chinese government, which raises serious national security issues.” How can all of these nations and our FBI director be incorrect, Mr. Chew? asked Lesko.
“I believe that many of the hazards cited are hypothetical and speculative. Chew said, “I have seen no proof.”
The congresswoman reaffirmed and emphasized the India ban once more. “India banned TikTok in 2020. The data of Indian users of TikTok remained available to staff of the firm and its Beijing-based parent, according to a March 21 Forbes story. A current TikTok employee told Forbes that anybody with simple access to the company’s tools may quickly get the closest contact information and other critical information about any user,” Lesko alerted her colleagues.
“This is a recent piece; I have requested that my staff investigate it. We employ stringent data access protocols. There is no way that someone could gain access to the tools. So, I disagree with many of the findings,” Chew replied.
Due to privacy and security concerns, India banned TikTok and dozens of other Chinese applications, including the messaging app WeChat, in 2020. The prohibition came immediately after a skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops at the LAC that resulted in the deaths of twenty Indian soldiers and the injuries of scores more. The firms were given the opportunity to reply to issues regarding privacy and security regulations, but the ban became permanent in January 2021.
“You damn well know that you cannot protect the data and security of this committee or the 150 million users of your app because it is an extension of the CCP,” Florida lawmaker Kat Cammack told Chew after playing a threatening video that was still on the platform more than a month after it had been posted, despite community guidelines prohibiting threats and violence.
The CEO of TikTok testifies before the US Congress, calling India’s ban “hypothetical.”
Republican congressman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers posed the question during a congressional hearing, and TikTok’s leader was unable to “promise” that China was not influencing portions of the program. Chew stated that the firm is dedicated to protecting U.S. user data from “any unauthorized foreign access” and will safeguard material from “any government manipulation.”
Another New Jersey lawmaker expressed doubt that TikTok’s security measures would be effective. “I still feel that the Beijing communist government will control and have the capacity to influence what you do,” he stated in response to TikTok’s attempt to present itself as “a benign corporation that’s really providing a public service… I don’t buy it.”
China repeatedly stated hours before the hearing that it would not oppose any forced sale of TikTok, with its Commerce Ministry stating that any sale would include the export of Chinese technology and would require official approval.
TikTok is already prohibited on federal government equipment, including military devices, and an increasing number of U.S. states are prohibiting it on government devices at the state level.