- BBC News World
Hours of intense questioning were raised by the US Congress against Sho Ji Chi.
He CEO of TikTok Appeared earlier this Thursday Committee of the US Congress He fielded questions about the risks of using the popular video platform.
Very much Democrats as RepublicansOne after another they expressed doubts about how the application belonged to a Chinese company Bytetans collects data from its users, what access the Chinese government has, or what impact the site has on the social well-being and health of young people.
Weeks, today is some of that application 3.5 billion downloads In devices around the world, it has faced waves of criticism from Western governments.
In the US, the government and lawmakers have raised concerns that China could use its national security laws to force TikTok to hand over personal information it collects from its users. Similar questions are echoed in other countries.
Chew, 40, from Singapore, has denied many of the allegations He assured that the application would not go beyond “professional standards”.
“With all due respect, corporate America doesn’t have a great record of protecting data,” he said in a counterattack.
These were the most striking phrases asked of the audience this Thursday.
1. “Chinese Engineers Have Access to Data”
One of the key questions throughout the investigation is how much power the Chinese government has to access the data of TikTok users around the world.
Congressman Dave Joyce argued that TikTok should guarantee the data it collects from its users, such as the type of cell phone they use and the apps they install. Must be stored and protected outside of China.
“As long as that data exchange takes place, user information will continue to be available to China,” he questioned.
Chew responded that he disagreed with claims that the Chinese government had access to this data: “It’s a private company,” he said.
Bite Dance, however, did not complete its plan announced three years ago “The Texas Project”to place that country’s user data storage on US soil.
Chev finally had to agree “Chinese engineers have access to data.”
However, in his initial presentation, ByteDance argued that it is “not owned or controlled by the Chinese government,” and that 60% of its investors are from other countries and three of its five executive members are from the United States.
2. “No government device should have social networks”
In recent weeks, governments in the US, Canada, the UK and other countries in Europe have issued Govt employees banned from using TikTok On working cell phones.
Authorities believe there is a credible threat Chinese government access to information of officials, military or contractors.
When questioned, Chew insisted that TikTok does not share user information outside of China with the Beijing government.
But at the urging of congressmen, the executive pointed out: “I believe that no government device should have social networking apps.”
With that in mind, Rep. Dave Joyce concluded: “TikTok cannot be trusted. I consider TikTok to be a spy in the pocket of the American people.”
3. “Just look at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.”
When Congressman Darren Soto continued the question, he said: TikTok must be an American company, With American values.
“We need to protect our children, especially those under 13,” he argued, adding that, according to him, the company is key in managing privacy.
But Chew countered: “I think we need to address the privacy issue. But with all due respect, US companies don’t have a great track record with data“.
“Just look Facebook and Cambridge Analytics“He said, referring to the user data mining scandal that led Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to face a US congressional investigation in 2018.
4. “How to ask a smoker not to have another cigarette”
Congresswoman Kim Shrier questioned Chew about TikTok’s effects on children’s mental health. That the platform is designed to be addictive.
Shrier, who is also a pediatrician, focused on the problem of teenagers looking at cell phones for hours at night when sleep is essential for growth and well-being.
Asked by Chew whether psychologists or other medical advisors for TikTok are looking at the effects of screen time on sleep deprivation, the CEO said he is working with a specialist child welfare center in Boston, USA to develop one. A feature that limits screen time to one hour for younger children And encourage them to take breaks.
But faced with this reply, Shriya remarked that it was true There is only A voluntary option That no one will use.
“It’s like asking a chain smoker not to take the next cigarette, it’s not going to happen,” he concluded.
5. “You’re evasive about a very simple question.”
Part of the controversy surrounding TikTok stems from the fact that ByteDance, like other Chinese companies, adheres to Beijing’s content control laws.
In China, Douyin, the local version of TikTok, does not allow the dissemination of videos on controversial issues for the government.
Congresswoman Debbie Lesko questioned TikTok’s CEO about his stance on the systematic oppression of the Uyghur Muslim community by Beijing.
“Do you agree that the Chinese government persecuted the Uyghurs?” He emphasized that.
Chev avoided answering directly on several occasions: “It’s very disturbing to learn of any allegations of human rights abuses. But my role is to describe what we do on stage. [de TikTok]”,
Then Lesko expressed disappointment: “You skipped over a very simple question.”
6. “TikTok Acts Like Big Brother”
While most of the congressmen chose to attack Chew and some allowed him to reply with a few words, Congressman Russ Fulcher was the only one who had a positive comment on TikTok.
In his speech, Fulcher congratulated Chew for having a product and tool that works well: “There’s no doubt it’s worth it.”said.
But he, like other Congressmen, went on to praise.
said TikTok “acts like Big Brother” All-seeing
“This has to stop.”
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