TikTok CEO to testify on Capitol Hill about China links, privacy fears

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The CEO of TikTok, the China-linked video platform that’s been banned from many government devices, will testify on Capitol Hill this spring, House Republicans said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee said the March 23 hearing will be Shou Zi Chew’s first appearance before a congressional committee.

Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said the hearing is part of a broader look at Big Tech’s impact on society. Lawmakers are worried that TikTok, in particular, is allowing the Chinese government to look at Americans’ user data.

“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,” said Ms. McMorris Rodgers, Washington Republican. “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.”

Governors in both parties have banned TikTok from state government devices over fears about its links to China. Congress used a year-end omnibus funding package to prohibit TikTok on federal devices, with exceptions for “law enforcement activities, national security interests and activities, and security researchers.”

TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has denounced the bans as “politically motivated” and says the restrictions won’t advance the national security of the U.S.

Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, plans to introduce legislation that would ban TikTok outright in the U.S.   

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