Why was the CEO of TikTok on Capitol Hill?

Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, recently made an appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill. This has raised questions about the significance of his appearance. Some security analysts believe this may lead to a US ban on the TikTok application.

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Background

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TikTok has been under scrutiny in recent months due to concerns over data privacy and national security. The company has been accused of allowing Chinese-based employees access to American user data, leading to potential risks of sensitive information being accessed by the Chinese government. Further questions remain about how users on TikTok may be subject to influencing operations by the Chinese government.

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TikTok CEO questioned Capitol Hill.

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Shou Zi Chew's appearance on Capitol Hill was in response to these concerns. Lawmakers wanted to question Chew about TikTok's data privacy policies and relationship with the Chinese government. Specifically, they wanted to know if TikTok was sharing data with the Chinese government or if the company was being coerced to do so.

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What was discussed during the hearing?

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During the hearing on March 23, 2023, Chew acknowledged that he received a salary, but his net worth is not publicly known. He also assured lawmakers that TikTok is committed to protecting the privacy and security of its users. Chew emphasized that TikTok stores all user data in the United States, and it has a team of American experts responsible for its security.

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Chew also addressed concerns about TikTok's relationship with the Chinese government, stating that the company operates independently of the government and has never provided user data to the Chinese government. Unfortunately, there were few details of how the Chinese government may be using the TikTok algorithm to influence user behavior on the platform.

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Will there be a US ban on TikTok?

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The CEO's appearance on Capitol Hill was a significant moment for TikTok. It demonstrated the company's commitment to transparency and its willingness to engage with lawmakers on issues related to data privacy and national security. Although Chew's testimony did little to assuage U.S. worries over TikTok's China-based parent company ByteDance, the company's commitment to transparency and data security is a positive step towards addressing these concerns.

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Chew's appearance on Capitol Hill was an important step towards addressing concerns about data privacy, influencing operations, and national security. TikTok has assured lawmakers that it operates independently of the Chinese government. With national security professionals still in doubt, it will be crucial for the company to increase privacy before the US legislature takes actions to ban TikTok.

Written by Geoff Weber

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