On Capitol Hill, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by House lawmakers for over five hours on the app’s ties to the Chinese government, data practices, and its effects on children’s mental health. This is Democratic Florida Congressmember Darren Soto questioning Chew.
Rep. Darren Soto: “So, Mr. Chew, would TikTok be prepared to divest from ByteDance and Chinese Communist Party ties if the Department of Treasury instructed you all to do so?”
Shou Chew: “Congressman, I said in my opening statement I think we are — need to address the problem of privacy. I agree with you. I don’t think ownership is the issue here. With a lot of respect, American social companies don’t have a good track record with data privacy and user security. I mean, look at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, just one example.”
This comes as a number of progressive lawmakers are speaking out against what they see as politically motivated attempts to ban or scapegoat TikTok, saying it is driven by dangerous anti-Chinese sentiment. This is New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman speaking at a rally earlier this week.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman: “We can keep TikTok. We can protect freedom of speech, and we could deal with the privacy concerns at the same time. We could do both. And right now we’re not trying to do both.”