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Tipsheet

TikTok CEO to Testify Before Congress for the First Time

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Amid escalating concerns — and bipartisan ones, at that — about TikTok's influence and data collection practices, the social media company's CEO will make his first appearance before Congress next week. 

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced on Thursday that Shou Chew will appear before her committee on March 23 for a hearing titled "TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms."

According to a release from the committee, the hearing will also probe TikTok's data security practices, its impact on children, and its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

“Americans deserve to know the extent to which their privacy is jeopardized and their data is manipulated by ByteDance-owned TikTok’s relationship with China," McMorris Rodgers said in a statement. "What’s worse, we know Big Tech companies, like TikTok, use harmful algorithms to exploit children for profit and expose them to dangerous content online," she added. 

"We need to know what actions the company is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms," McMorris Rodgers continued. "We look forward to hearing from Mr. Chew directly and continuing Energy and Commerce’s efforts to bring Big Tech CEOs before the committee to answer for their companies’ destructive actions," she pledged. 

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, previously alleged that TikTok had "failed to provide responsive documents requested" by his committee. "Additionally, some of the information TikTok provided during [a previous] staff briefing appears to be untrue or misleading, including that TikTok does not track U.S. user locations."

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Comer noted that, if TikTok staff did in fact mislead or outright lie in its congressional briefing, such a revelation is "deeply concerning," so expect some questions about that to come up in next week's Energy and Commerce Committee hearing once TikTok's CEO is under oath in front of lawmakers.  

As Townhall noted earlier this week, the Biden administration has been seemingly slow-walking action regarding TikTok, moving slowly and remaining tight-lipped about what the president's plan is to address the threats TikTok and its ties to the CCP pose to Americans. One theory is that a TikTok ban would do more harm to Democrats who, President Biden included, use the platform to reach young Americans with political messages.

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