TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before a House panel in March as Congress weighs security concerns with the Chinese-owned app and considers legislation to potentially ban the app nationwide.
Chew will testify March 23 during a hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) announced Monday, noting topics of the hearing would include TikTok’s data security practices and its impact on children.
Rodgers said in a statement that big tech had become a “destructive force in American society” and that examining TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance and wildly popular among young Americans, was part of her committee’s broader efforts to rein in big tech companies.
ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data. Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms. We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people.
Rodgers’ announcement comes after Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) bill to ban TikTok from most federal government devices was signed into law via the year-end omnibus spending bill in December and as Hawley and others have moved for a total ban on the app.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who chairs the newly created Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, also introduced bipartisan legislation in December to ban the app, alongside Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
Gallagher described TikTok, known for its short user-created videos promoted through a highly addictive algorithm, as “digital fentanyl.”
“Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up the New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War,” Gallagher said. “No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”
Nearly 100 million Americans currently use TikTok, according to a Statista estimate.
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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