TikTok CEO to testify before Congress in March amid app security questions

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before Congress in March to answer questions about the viral video app’s security measures amid mounting efforts to ban it over privacy concerns.

Chew will appear at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on March 23, his first time testifying before Congress, the committee said Monday. Lawmakers will question him about TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platform’s effect on children and the app’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wa., announced in a statement.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has come under tighter scrutiny after media reports revealed potential security breaches. Last month, President Joe Biden signed legislation banning TikTok on government devices. Several legislators support legislation to completely ban the app from the US.

“Big Tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society,” McMorris said in her statement. “TikTok, owned by ByteDance, has knowingly given the Chinese Communist Party the ability to access US user data. Americans deserve to know how these actions affect their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to protect our children from online and offline damage.”

The ban approved by Biden, which was wrapped up in the omnibus spending bill, included limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security, and security research. It does not apply to members of Congress and their staffs, although members of the House are prohibited from downloading the app on government-issued cell phones.

TikTok criticized the ban in a statement, arguing that the ban was “a political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests.”

Last month, under criticism from lawmakers and regulators, the company established a new US-based team for trust and security issues.

Still, Chinese hawks in Congress have tried to rein in the power of the viral video app. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. introduced legislation last week to ban the social media app in the US

In a tweetHawley said TikTok is “China’s backdoor into Americans’ lives,” adding, “It threatens our children’s privacy and their mental health. Last month, Congress banned it from all government devices. Now I will introduce legislation to make it nationwide. prohibit.”

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla. filed a Senate bill last month to ban TikTok in the US. A companion measure was introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.

Numerous states have already banned the social media app on state phones and computers. Some of the state restrictions go beyond government devices to ban TikTok from anyone using campus Wi-Fi in public schools, including the University of Oklahoma and Auburn University in Alabama — part of the app’s major user base in the US.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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