TikTok CEO Takes Question from Congressman Who Wants to Ban App

Republicans and Democrats quarreled with TikTok CEO in Congress hearing On Thursday, he denied allegations that he was spying on Americans for the Chinese Communist Party, raising concerns about data security and content manipulation.

The company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to address concerns about the company’s proprietary rights and efforts to protect users’ sensitive data.

Chu testified that the company is majority-owned by global investors and that Beijing has not directed surveillance of Americans. It’s a highly competitive market. TikTok is a subsidiary of multi-billion dollar Chinese company ByteDance. profit After launching the popular video sharing app all over the world.

Members of the House committee, particularly bipartisan, denounced TikTok as a threat to national and personal security.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, the chairman of the Republican Party in Washington, said, “To the people of America watching today, listen to this.

Rogers and others have called on the United States to ban TikTok.

Chew’s opening statement argued that the ban was unnecessary because he was working on a project to store US user data on domestic servers owned and controlled by US software company Oracle. Dubbed “Project Texas,” the project routes all American user data through his US-based TikTok employees, independent of ByteDance and Beijing monitors. Said.

Democratic Party ranking member of New Jersey, Rep. Frank Pallone, reacted incredulously to Chu’s data security guarantees.

“First of all, Mr. Chu, what you have suggested… is unacceptable to me,” he said. “I believe that the Beijing Communist Party government still controls and influences your actions.”

Department of Justice and FBI investigating Allegations that a company employee spied on an American journalist.

forbes report Late last year, ByteDance discovered that employees were accessing reporters’ IP addresses to track their physical location and in-app contacts. ByteDance said it fired its employees and is cooperating with the investigation.

“TikTok is watching us all, and the Chinese Communist Party can use this as a tool to manipulate the whole of America,” Rodgers said in her statement. opening statement“I don’t think TikTok embraces American values. …your platform should be banned.”

Section 230 concerns about Rep. John Curtis’ TikTok

Republican Utah Rep. John Curtis said TikTok’s algorithm preferring to promote certain videos over others means the company should no longer be protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. I asked Mr. Chu if it meant that it was not.

Section 230 largely shields Internet “distributors” from liability for user-generated content, as opposed to “publishers” who are held accountable.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) referenced the death of a 1-year-old girl who died participating in a viral trend on TikTok. called “Blackout Challenge”.but the court control TikTok was not responsible due to its Section 230 indemnity against the platform as a distributor.

It is believed that the TikTok trend has gone viral as it promotes content to other users identified by the company’s algorithm.

Curtis questioned whether TikTok should be considered a publisher because it recommends videos through its own algorithm.

In an interview with Deseret News shortly after the hearing, Curtis said, “The moment (TikTok) manipulates data using algorithms that should not be protected by Section 230.”

He argued that the app isn’t a “bulletin board” for people to pick and choose what they see, but rather the company pushes content, thus acting like a publisher.

During a House hearing, Curtis and colleagues investigated TikTok’s preferred content promotion and potential information targeting. He asked Chu if it would be possible for the company to create an algorithm that would use data collection about him as an MP to persuade him to change his views on policy issues.

Chew reiterated the company’s commitment to free speech.

Curtis told Deseret News that he is concerned about TikTok’s content manipulation tools. He urged parents to evaluate the app’s potential dangers “with an open eye.”

“The smartest people in the world are using the smartest technology in the world to change the way they see and perceive things,” said Curtis. “If you’re not careful, they will.”

He agreed with the characterization of TikTok as “digital fentanyl.”

Curtis said time was running out, but he wanted to ask Chu if TikTok would follow the newly-deceased state of Utah. law Require social media companies to verify the age of their users and restrict access to underage users without parental consent.

He said he suspects the company will not comply with Beehive state laws that go into effect next year.

Other Hearing Highlights

Many lawmakers questioned Beijing’s control of TikTok through its parent company.

“Let me make this clear: ByteDance is not an agent for China or any other country,” Chew said.

California Democratic Rep. Anna Esshu asked how Chu plans to circumvent China’s data security law, which requires Chinese companies to hand over data requested by the Chinese Communist Party. rice field. “Why would the Chinese government circumvent domestic laws,” she said.

Chew replied, “They never asked us, they never provided us.”

“I think that’s really silly,” Esu said.

Various commission members questioned Chu about allegations that Beijing was spying on Americans.

“I don’t think espionage is the right word,” he said, citing that ByteDance is mandated by the Chinese Communist Party.

Utah Sen, Mitt Romney and other leaders took to social media to claim that this was a veiled acknowledgment that espionage was “happening.”

Rodgers and Pallone said they plan to reintroduce the bipartisan American Data Privacy and Protection Act. This bill fixes what they consider to be weaknesses in federal law and protects Americans from harming data collection practices.

According to reports from the Biden administration Said ByteDance and its Chinese owners have said they would have to sell the app or risk an outright ban. Many Republicans also support a nationwide ban.

Curtis said he has doubts about the proposed ban because he doesn’t know how it can be done constitutionally.

“I would rather use common principles to enforce what is right,” he said.

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https://www.deseret.com/2023/3/23/23653429/john-curtis-tiktok-ceo-shou-chew-congress-hearing-ban TikTok CEO Takes Question from Congressman Who Wants to Ban App

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