“You have current controls, but the current controls are not working to keep this information mainly from young people, but from Americans in general,” DeGette said.
Chew said the company was investing in content moderation and artificial intelligence to limit such content.
DeGette said TikTok’s actions were not enough.
“You gave me only generalised statements that you’re investing, that you’re concerned, that you’re doing work. That’s not enough for me. That’s not enough for the parents of America,” DeGette said.
Shares of US social media companies rose on Thursday, with Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc up 3.4 per cent and Snap Inc up 4.4 per cent.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said on Twitter the “TikTok CEO testimony so far we would characterise as a ‘mini disaster’ for this key moment for TikTok. TikTok is now poster child of the US/China tensions and lawmakers have a lot of q’s with not enough concrete answers.”
Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, set the tone of the hearing by saying: “TikTok collects nearly every data point imaginable – from people’s location to what they type and copy, who they talk to, to biometric data and more.”
“We do not trust TikTok will ever embrace American values – values for freedom, human rights and innovation,” she said, adding that the Chinese Communist Party “is able to use [TikTok] as a tool to manipulate America as a whole.”
Chew, who began his testimony speaking about his own Singaporean roots, said, “We do not promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government.” He added: “It is our commitment to this committee and all our users that we will keep [TikTok] free from any manipulation by any government.”
But the top Democrat on the panel, Representative Frank Pallone, argued with that statement, saying, “You’re gonna continue to gather data, you’re gonna continue to sell data … and continue to be under the aegis of the Communist Party.”
Many US lawmakers want TikTok banned. TikTok last week said President Joe Biden’s administration demanded its Chinese owners divest their stakes or face a potential ban.
China’s Ministry of Commerce at a briefing on Thursday said that “forcing the sale of TikTok will seriously damage the confidence of investors from all over the world, including China, to invest in the United States. If the news is true, China will firmly oppose it.”
“The sale or divestiture of TikTok involves technology export, and administrative licensing procedures must be performed in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, and the Chinese government will make a decision in accordance with the law,” the ministry representative added.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner on Wednesday said two additional senators backed his bipartisan legislation with Republican John Thune to give the Biden administration new powers to ban TikTok – raising the total to 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
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