FILE – The TikTok Inc. building is seen on March 17, 2023 in Culver City, California. TikTok rolled out updated rules and standards for content and users on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 amid mounting pressure from Western authorities over concerns that footage on the popular Chinese video-sharing app could be used to spread false information to spread. The company released a reorganized set of community guidelines that include eight principles to guide content moderation decisions. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEO of TikTok plans to tell Congress that the video-sharing app is committed to user safety, privacy and security, and keeps the platform free from Chinese government influence.
Shou Zi Chew will on Thursday answer questions from US lawmakers concerned about the social media platform’s impact on its young user base and possible national security risks posed by the popular app founded by Chinese entrepreneurs.
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Chew sticks to a well-known script as he urges officials to pursue a blanket ban on TikTok or sell the company to new owners.
TikTok’s efforts to ensure the security of its user data, including a $1.5 billion project to store the information on Oracle servers in the US and allow outside observers to inspect the source code, go “beyond” what its competitors are doing. according to Chews, prepared remarks released ahead of his appearance before the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“No other social media company or entertainment platform like TikTok offers this level of access and transparency,” he said.
Chew has quashed fears that TikTok could become a tool of China’s ruling Communist Party because its parent company ByteDance is based in Beijing. He said ByteDance has grown into a “global company” that is privately owned, 60% owned by large institutional investors, 20% owned by the Chinese entrepreneurs who founded it, and the rest owned by employees.
“Let me be clear: ByteDance is not a representative of China or any other country,” Chew said.
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TikTok has come under fire in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific, where a growing number of governments have banned TikTok from devices used for official business over concerns it poses cybersecurity and privacy risks or could be used to spread pro-Beijing narratives and misinformation.