TikTok CEO Shou Chew Grilled by US Lawmakers Regarding China Connections

Washington, DC, February 1: TikTok CEO Shou Chew found himself under scrutiny as lawmakers probed into the platform’s ties with China, particularly its parent company ByteDance, and the extent of access granted to the Chinese government, CNN reported.

During the hearing, Arkansas Republican Sen Tom Cotton questioned Chew about his appointment as CEO coinciding with the Chinese Communist Party’s acquisition of a 1 per cent stake in ByteDance’s main Chinese subsidiary. China Uses TikTok To Spread Disinformation Campaign, To Create Suspicion and Sabotage Taiwan-US Relations.

Chew dismissed any connection, stating, “It’s a coincidence.” Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley also pressed Chew on TikTok’s links to China and its communist party. Iowa Sues TikTok: Chinese Short-Video Making Platform Sued in US for Misleading Parents About Harmful Content Available for Kids.

In response to Texas Republican Sen Ted Cruz’s inquiry, Chew characterised the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident in Beijing as a “massive protest.” While accurate, Chew’s description omitted the subsequent government crackdown on pro-democracy activists, a dark chapter that is heavily censored on the Chinese internet today.

Under further questioning by Sen Cotton, Chew conceded, referring to the event as “a massacre.” Despite Chew’s acknowledgment, he had previously assured Congress that TikTok permits content related to Tiananmen Square, emphasising that the platform does not operate within China. However, ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, distributes a similar app called Douyin within China.

The intense questioning reflects growing concerns among lawmakers about the potential influence of the Chinese government on TikTok’s operations and content policies.

The grilling was held at a dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of the CEOs of major tech companies, who faced intense scrutiny over the potential harms of their platforms on teens, CNN reported.

At the hearing, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood to offer a public apology to families affected by the alleged repercussions of social media platforms, acknowledging the pain and suffering they have endured.

“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through. No one should go through the things that your families have suffered, and this is why we invest so much,” Zuckerberg said, emphasising ongoing industry-wide efforts to mitigate the negative impacts associated with their products, as reported by CNN.

“We are going to continue doing industry-wide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer,” he added.

Five tech executives, including the TikTok CEO, Zuckerberg, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, X (formerly Twitter) CEO Linda Yaccarino, and Discord CEO Jason Citron, were being grilled at the hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee focused on examining the potential harms inflicted on teenagers by these platforms.

During the hearing, the CEOs sought to convey their commitment to child safety on their platforms by emphasising their roles as parents.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel mentioned that his wife approves every app their 13-year-old downloads, TikTok CEO Shou Chew highlighted being a father of three young children, X CEO Linda Yaccarino identified herself as a mother, and Discord CEO Jason Citron emphasised his role as a father of two.

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)

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