Interests of American parents diverge with TikTok’s CEO: US lawmaker

Testimony of TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew capped a week of actions before Congress by the Chinese company which was aimed at convincing Americans and their respective lawmakers that this app supports free speech along with economic value, as per the latest news published through The Economic Times.

The Chief Executive faced tough questions on Thursday from lawmakers who feel and are convinced with the thought that short video apps owned by the Chinese should now be barred as a mark of a potential national security threat to the entire nation of the United States. With over 150 million booming followers and users, TikTok has faced some grave accusations that its U.S user data would be shared with the government of China since it fails to protect children from harm.

According to TikTok, it has spent around $1.5 billion on its robust and rigorous data security backup with much effort under a development project named ‘Project Texas’. The project has currently hired nearly 1500 full-time employees and has also made an Oracle contract to store the data of millions of TikTok users. It also adds a supportive comment clearly stating that it makes use of rigorous screening techniques so that it can no way harm children or their way of growing up by affecting their minds or through breach of data.

During the hearing presented at the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Congresswoman Diana DeGette asked TikTok’s CEO what in general was the app doing in preventing the spread of misinformation on the platform. She also added the charge that Shou might have everything under his control but as per the current controls, his system isn’t working to keep this information mainly from the young people but from the Americans as well too.

Chew remarked on this by saying that the company was investing in content moderation and artificial intelligence to limit such content already and that they have already worked and set up measures to avoid the breach of any such confidential content. He added that the wide range of users on their platform comes only for entertaining safe content which is protected but like it’s always said there are some exceptions. So, some people mislead things by spouting out dangerous information and the company will be seriously dealing with it. However, DeGette strongly opposed such a statement saying TikTok and its actions aren’t justifiable. She retorted that Chew only gave her generalized statements about some investments but not his concern regarding the work he said he was doing and hence, the verdicts aren’t enough for her to be satisfied. It is not enough even for the parents of America.

Contrary to the above remarks, Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican said that TikTok collects nearly every data point from people’s current location stating what they type and copy, who they interact with and some related biometry and more. She added that the Chinese Communist Party uses TikTok to Manipulate America as a whole and has nothing to do with safeguarding values for freedom, innovation and human rights for America as a whole. Chew started his testimony by adding his Singaporean roots saying that TikTok doesn’t promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government. It is the commitment to the committee that all TikTok users will be kept free from any manipulation by any government.

 

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