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Shou Zi Chew to Testify Before House Energy and Commerce Committee on TikTok Privacy, Data Security, and Ties to China

Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23 to discuss the app's privacy and data security measures, its impact on kids and ties to China (parent company ByteDance is headquartered in the country). This will be Chew's inaugural presentation to a congressional panel, according to the committee.[0]

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said that Chew will testify on TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.

“ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data,” McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. “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.”[1]

A spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement that they “welcome the opportunity to set the record straight about TikTok, ByteDance, and the commitments we are making to address concerns about U.S. national security before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.”[2]

The company added that they hope that by sharing details of their comprehensive plans with the committee, Congress can take a more deliberative approach to the issues at hand.[3]

Next month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will be voting on a bill to prohibit the use of TikTok in the United States due to security worries. This announcement comes at the same time.[4] In December 2022, President Biden approved a measure to ban the app from federal devices as part of a wide-ranging spending bill.[5] Subsequently, the U.S. House of Representatives also implemented a ban on TikTok on official devices.[5] In addition, 28 states have enacted prohibitions against using TikTok on government-issued devices.[6] Certain college campuses have chosen to prohibit the usage of the platform on university devices and networks.[5]

Last week, Republican Congressmen Josh Hawley and Ken Buck introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of TikTok on all electronic devices in the United States, should it be passed.[7]

0. “TikTok CEO to testify before Congress in March” CBS News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tiktok-ceo-shou-zi-chew-testify-before-congress-march/

1. “PR News | TikTok CEO Heads for The Hill – Mon., Jan. 30, 2023” O'Dwyer's PR News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.odwyerpr.com/story/public/19102/2023-01-30/tiktok-ceo-heads-for-hill.html

2. “TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Will Testify in Front of Congress in March” Observer, 30 Jan. 2023, https://observer.com/2023/01/tiktok-ceo-shou-zi-chew-will-testify-in-front-of-congress-in-march/

3. “TikTok Chief Chew To Testify Before US Congress” Silicon UK, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.silicon.co.uk/e-regulation/tiktok-ceo-testimony-495064

4. “TikTok CEO will testify in Congress, as pressure mounts” Axios, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/01/30/tiktok-ceo-will-testify-in-congress-as-pressure-mounts

5. “TikTok CEO to Face Congressional Hearing in March” Gizmodo, 30 Jan. 2023, https://gizmodo.com/tiktok-bytedance-china-tiktok-ban-congress-1850047848

6. “TikTok CEO to testify before Congress on app's privacy, data security” FOX 13 Seattle, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.q13fox.com/news/tiktok-ceo-to-testify-before-congress-on-apps-privacy-data-security

7. “Congress to grill TikTok on list of concerns from spying to child safety” UPI News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2023/01/30/Congress-TikTok-National-Security/9861675089681