TikTok’s CEO is trying to reassure the US Congress that the Chinese-owned video app is not a “proxy” of Beijing and poses no risk to national security.
Zhou Zizhou was grilled for hours by representatives of the House of Representatives, convinced that the popular app is a “tool” of the Chinese Communist Party.
Some also raised concerns that Tik Tokwith 150 million US users, contains content that may harm children’s mental health.
Representatives of the House Energy and Commerce Committee pressed Mr. Zhou on a variety of topics — from TikTok’s content moderation practices to the company’s spying on journalists.
Watch Live: US Congress Questions TikTok CEO
“Mr. Zhou, you are here because the American people need to know the truth about the threat TikTok poses to our national and personal security,” said the committee’s chairwoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
“TikTok has repeatedly chosen a path of more control, more surveillance, and more manipulation.”
Zhou insisted that his parent company, ByteDance, puts the safety of young users first, and denied that the app posed a national security risk.
TikTok to be banned from using UK parliament equipment
UK minister asks NCSC to investigate app security
“Let me be clear: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country,” he said.
He reiterated the company’s plan to protect U.S. user data by storing information on servers maintained and owned by server giant Oracle.
Click to subscribe to the Beth Rigby interview… wherever you get the podcast
Many representatives on the committee found some of Mr Chew’s answers vague – one, Tony Cardenas, said the chief executive was a “word dancer”.
Mounting pressure and bans
TikTok comes under increasing scrutiny Security and Data Privacyfearing it could be used to promote pro-Beijing views or collect user data — something Tik Tok Strongly deny.
In the UK, the app will be Prohibited use of council equipment and networks.
European Commission More than half of U.S. states and Congress have banned the use of employee phones due to concerns over potential cyberattacks, Last week the British government followed suit.
China said it would oppose any attempt by the U.S. to force ByteDance to sell the app.