TikTok CEO aims to defend app’s safety measures before Congress
After being embroiled in controversies about its data privacy for more than a year, TikTok CEO Chew is set to testify before Congress on Thursday to address “misconceptions” about the app and its parent company, ByteDance. Lawmakers have long expressed concerns about the app’s connections with the Chinese government and its possible use to target American consumers, leading to calls for a ban on the app in the US. Chew aims to argue that banning TikTok would harm the country’s economy and that the Chinese government has no control over the app.
During his testimony, Chew plans to highlight the app’s safety features and Project Texas, a billion-dollar initiative designed to protect the data of US users. He will also mention that the company is currently erasing historically protected US user data stored in non-Oracle servers and that the Chinese government cannot access data under their current app structure.
“ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country. Rather, our approach has been to work transparently and cooperatively with the U.S. government and Oracle to design robust solutions to address concerns about TikTok’s heritage,” reads Chew’s remarks.
Tough times for TikTok
Despite TikTok’s efforts to safeguard US user data, recent reports of the FBI investigating the company for spying on US journalists have worsened matters for the company. Lawmakers are likely to criticize Chew for TikTok’s connections to ByteDance and China. Nevertheless, Chew contends that the allegations that TikTok is “beholden to the Chinese government” are untrue, and he describes ByteDance as a “global enterprise” established by Chinese entrepreneurs.
TikTok CEO Chew’s appearance before Congress will be his first, and his testimony could have a significant impact. With lawmakers threatening to ban the app unless the company divests from ByteDance, Chew’s defence of TikTok’s safety measures and its parent company’s autonomy will determine the company’s fate in the US.