January 31, 2023

TikTok CEO to testify before US Congress over security concerns

EU tells TikTok to 'spare no effort' to fight disinformation

By Biodun Busari

TikTok Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shou Zi Chew will testify at an upcoming hearing before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.

CNN said Chew will be the only witness at the hearing, slated for March 23.

He is expected to testify on TikTok’s privacy and data security practices, its impact on young users, and its “relationship to the Chinese Communist Party.”

The committee’s website revealed the announcement on Wednesday, adding that honest answers are expected,

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“We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok,” said the committee’s chair, Washington Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, in a statement.

“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.”

The high-profile hearing underlines the increasing political risk for TikTok as its negotiations with the US government on a national security deal continue to drag on.

US officials have raised concerns that China could use its laws to pressure TikTok or its parent, ByteDance, to hand over US user data that could be used for intelligence or disinformation purposes.

Those concerns have prompted the US government to ban TikTok from official devices, and more than half of US states have taken similar measures, according to a CNN analysis.

Chew, who took over as TikTok CEO in April 2021, has basically stayed out of the spotlight at a time when the app he leads cannot seem to avoid it.

Members of Congress previously grilled TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas, arguably the public face of the company in the United States, during a Senate hearing last year.