TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew attended a Congressional hearing regarding TikTok’s alleged spying activities and harmful content that is being posted on the platform.
Lawmakers are considering heavily regulating the platform or banning it outright after it was revealed that TikTok was spying on two journalists. Four employees were fired in connection with the incident.
Plenty of tense moments occurred at the hearing, including one where Representative Cathy Rodgers (R-Wa.) threatened to charge Chew with federal crimes if he lied about the platform’s content moderation with regard to the Uyghur genocide.
Representative Bob Latta (R-Oh.) also blasted TikTok for allowing trends that have resulted in teenagers being seriously injured or dying.
In one of the more explosive moments in the hearing, Representative Neal Dunn (R-Fl.) straightforwardly asked if TikTok is spying on American citizens.
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Chew dodged the allegations, not straightforwardly denying that TikTok is using its access to data to spy on Americans, but instead saying that Dunn didn’t phrase his question ‘the right way’.
Here’s the clip: pic.twitter.com/IYZcT52r2C
— D. Cohen (@tallRevere) March 23, 2023
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday that “spying” is not the right word for alleged Chinese surveillance of Americans using his company’s social media platform.
Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) asked Chew if TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has spied on American citizens.
“I don’t think that ‘spying’ is the right way to describe it,” Chew said.
Dunn asked about a report that the FBI and Justice Department are investigating ByteDance after the company acknowledged firing four employees for using the controversial app to track the location of two journalists in the United States.
Concerns over the national security and privacy implications of TikTok have reached a fever pitch in Washington, DC as lawmakers have continued to consider if the legislative branch needs to pursue an outright ban of TikTok or privacy legislation to address the concerns surrounding the popular yet controversial app. Others have called for separating TikTok from ByteDance.
During the hearing, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) also slammed TikTok for hosting dangerous trends that have killed American teens and children: