What You Need To Know!
- TikTok CEO denies spying allegations during House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing
- FBI and Justice Department investigating ByteDance after company fired employees for using app to track journalists’ location
- Concerns over national security and privacy implications of TikTok continue to rise in Washington
During a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew addressed allegations of Chinese surveillance on Americans using his company’s social media platform. Chew stated that he did not believe “spying” was an appropriate word to describe the situation.
These comments come in response to concerns surrounding ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, after admitting to firing four employees for accessing the data of U.S. users.
As a result, the FBI and Justice Department are currently investigating the matter, with Forbes reporting that ByteDance has received subpoenas.
TikTok CEO is asked whether parent company ByteDance has spied on Americans at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party.
“I don’t think ‘spying’ is the right way to describe it,” Shou Chew responds.
Incredible.— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) March 23, 2023
A ByteDance spokesperson stated that they “strongly condemned the actions of the individuals found to have been involved,” and are committed to cooperating with official investigations.
Despite these statements, concerns regarding national security and privacy implications of TikTok continue to rise in Washington. Lawmakers have been considering options such as banning TikTok outright or implementing privacy legislation to address the app’s controversial reputation.
Mid-hearing, Sen. Tillis calls on members of Congress to stop using TikTok. (Pretty wild that some are even still using it.) pic.twitter.com/ziATfrMqkc— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) March 23, 2023
Others have suggested separating TikTok from ByteDance. The discussion has also turned to the app’s potential harm to American teens and children, as Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) criticized TikTok for hosting dangerous trends that have resulted in fatalities. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) went further, describing the app as one of the “biggest geopolitical threats America has ever faced.”