(USNewsMag.com) – A group of House Republicans, led by Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter, is demanding answers from TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about a surge in pro-Hamas content posted on the social media platform. The group sent a letter stating that since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, “disinformation related to the conflict” has “run rampant” on TikTok. The letter said that this stokes “antisemitism, support, and sympathy for Hamas.”
Content that was flagged as being pro-Palestinian was viewed more on the platform than videos supporting Israel, according to reports cited by Carter. The lawmakers stated that younger generations use TikTok for news “rather than search engines and other verifiable sources.” The letter accuses the CEO of leading younger generations to think of TikTok as “an ‘unfiltered’ news source.”
The letter also notes TikTok’s appeal to the very young; fully half of all TikTok users are under 25 years old. This means American children are being exposed to “extremely violent and disturbing images and videos.” The Republican authors added that the “hateful antisemitic rhetoric and violent protests” happening on college campuses across the United States are being driven by the pro-Hamas content on social media platforms.
The politicians also requested information about TikTok’s ties to China and the Chinese Communist Party, as its parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing. The letter refers to the CEO’s testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce earlier this year. The lawmakers requested to know how many employees have connections to ByteDance, and they asked how TikTok screens for misinformation and content that is “anti-Israel.”
The letter from the lawmakers comes as the social media platform has come under fire for facilitating a surge in viral videos that supported Osama bin Laden’s 2002 “Letter to America,” written after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
According to TikTok, the content would be removed from the platform as it violates the “rules on supporting any form of terrorism.” However, TikTok claimed the number of videos on its platform was “small,” and “reports of it trending” are inaccurate.
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