(USNewsMag.com) – Following growing concern about the data harvested by the social media app TikTok, the company’s CEO Shou Zi Chew has been called to testify before Congress.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will convene a panel on March 23 at which Chew will be the only witness.
In a press release, the Committee chair, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the purpose of the panel was to get “complete and honest answers” from the Chinese-owned company regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s access to the data TikTok harvests, and question what steps they are taking to protect minors who use the platform. The Representative from Washington expressed her belief that Big Tech had become destructive to American society.
A spokesperson for TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, refuted the claims that the data collected by their app is accessible to Chinese authorities and indicated that the company sees calls for the CEO to testify as an “opportunity to set the record straight.”
A November 2022 letter from the Energy and Commerce Committee requesting information from Shou Zi Chew about the company’s data-sharing practices accused TikTok of providing untrue or misleading information during a briefing on September 7th of the same year. The letter alleges that TikTok claimed it did not track internet data when users were not using the application, and that it did not access their location data, but that those statements were apparently “misleading at best, and at worst, false.” In July, the Senate Intelligence Committee urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the social media platform and accused TikTok of “repeated misrepresentations” regarding its data and governance practices.
Multiple states have banned employees from having the app on their devices due to security concerns. During the last week of January 2023, the Republican National Committee successfully passed a resolution that would ban TikTok on federal government employees’ devices. The RNC also encourages citizens to remove the app from their electronics. Previous calls to ban the app were met with intense backlash during President Trump’s administration.
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