US Lawmakers Grill TikTok CEO Over China Ties

World | February 1, 2024, Thursday // 10:15
Bulgaria: US Lawmakers Grill TikTok CEO Over China Ties Shou Chew

TikTok CEO Shou Chew found himself at the center of a heated exchange with US lawmakers as they probed the social media giant's connections to China, particularly its parent company ByteDance. Lawmakers questioned the extent of access granted to the Chinese government, raising concerns about potential influence on TikTok's operations and content policies, as reported by CNN.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Arkansas Republican Sen Tom Cotton pressed Chew about his appointment coinciding with the Chinese Communist Party's acquisition of a 1% stake in ByteDance's main Chinese subsidiary. Chew dismissed any connection, stating, "It's a coincidence." Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley also questioned TikTok's links to China and its communist party.

Texas Republican Sen Ted Cruz inquired about Chew's characterization of the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident in Beijing. While accurate, Chew's description omitted the subsequent government crackdown on pro-democracy activists. Chew later conceded, referring to the event as "a massacre." The questioning reflects growing concerns among lawmakers about the potential influence of the Chinese government on TikTok's operations and content policies.

The intense scrutiny was part of a dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featuring CEOs of major tech companies, including Meta's Mark Zuckerberg, Snap's Evan Spiegel, X's Linda Yaccarino, and Discord's Jason Citron. The committee focused on examining potential harms inflicted on teenagers by these platforms.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly apologized to families affected by alleged repercussions of social media platforms, acknowledging the pain and suffering they have endured. The CEOs emphasized their commitment to child safety, citing their roles as parents.

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Tags: TikTok, CEO, China, Senate

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