TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in March, when lawmakers will scrutinize all of the Chinese company’s video-sharing app. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican chair of the committee, said in a statement on Monday (January 30) that Zhou Shouzi will testify before the committee on March 23. It will be his first appearance before a congressional committee.
The news comes as the House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to vote next month on a bill that would ban TikTok in the United States due to national security concerns. “TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, has intentionally allowed the Chinese Communist Party to access U.S. user data,” McMorris-Rodgers said, adding that Americans deserve to know how these actions affect their privacy and data security.
TikTok confirmed on Monday that Zhou Shouzi would testify.
TikTok said on Friday that “calls for a blanket ban on TikTok are a piecemeal approach to national security and a piecemeal approach to broad industry issues such as data security, privacy and online harms.”
McMorris Rogers and other Republican lawmakers asked TikTok provides more information. Concerned about harmful content, they wanted to know about TikTok’s impact on young people and wanted more details about potential sexual exploitation of minors on the platform, the statement said.
TikTok is the overseas version of Chinese short video sharing app Douyin, whose parent company is Chinese company ByteDance. TikTok, which has more than 100 million U.S. users, has been trying to reassure Washington that the personal data of U.S. citizens cannot be accessed and that its content cannot be manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party or anyone else under the influence of Beijing.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a powerful national security agency, ordered ByteDance to spin off TikTok in 2020 amid concerns that U.S. user data could be handed over to the Chinese government.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and TikTok have been negotiating for more than two years to reach a national security agreement to protect the data of American TikTok users. The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on a possible TikTok ban next month.
(This article is based on a Reuters report.)