TikTok CEO faces tough questions from US lawmakers over data security and Chinese ties

Mar 24, 2023
Updated • Mar 24, 2023

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before US Congress: Highlights and Updates

While a potential ban of TikTok in the US originated from an executive order under the Trump administration, it has gained wider acceptance as a political stance under President Joe Biden. Recent reports indicate that the Biden administration has demanded that ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, divest ownership of the app's US assets or face a ban in the country.

TikTok CEO faces tough questions from US lawmakers

The CEO of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, is currently testifying before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in an effort to persuade lawmakers that the app is safe. Numerous correspondents from various publications are present at the hearing and are providing real-time updates as it progresses.

The primary concern regarding TikTok's safety is related to national security, specifically the possibility that ByteDance's ownership of the app could provide the Chinese government with access to the personal data of its 150 million US users. This concern has led to the federal government's prohibition of the app on official devices, with many state governments following suit. Additionally, there are fears that TikTok's video recommendation algorithm could be manipulated to further China's foreign policy objectives.

The concerns surrounding TikTok's safety come amidst increased tensions between the US and China, which has made US officials more cautious than ever about China's expanding global influence. The Biden administration introduced extensive new restrictions last year designed to restrict China's access to advanced technology, and has been advocating for other countries to do the same.

TikTok CEO faces tough questions from US lawmakers

The latest developments

During the hearing of TikTok in front of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Shou Zi Chew faced a barrage of questions from lawmakers regarding the app's data security practices and its connections to the Chinese government. Chew reiterated that TikTok operates autonomously from ByteDance, its parent company, and emphasized that the data of US users is stored in the US and Singapore. Nevertheless, some lawmakers remained unconvinced, citing the possibility that the Chinese government could access data stored in Singapore.

Moreover, Chew discussed TikTok's actions in addressing misinformation and harmful content on the platform, citing the app's policies for content moderation and partnerships with third-party fact-checkers. However, the lawmakers inquired about the effectiveness of these measures, particularly in cases where harmful content remained on the platform for a prolonged period.

The hearing also focused on the issue of TikTok's algorithm and its potential to influence users' viewpoints on international affairs. Chew denied that the algorithm was designed to promote any political agenda. Nevertheless, the lawmakers expressed concerns that it could be utilized to achieve this aim.

In summary, the hearing has so far highlighted the ongoing tensions between the US and China regarding data security and the increased scrutiny of Chinese-owned technology companies in the US. Although Chew sought to reassure lawmakers about TikTok's safety for US users, it remains to be seen whether his efforts will be sufficient to alleviate concerns regarding the app's links to China.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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