TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is testifying before Congress in a defense of the popular social media app as momentum grows on Capitol Hill to outright ban the app over national security concerns.
Lawmakers have been growing increasingly concerned over the app’s parent company, ByteDance, due to its ties to the Chinese government. Those lawmakers both Republicans and Democrats will grill Chew over the next four hours over the app’s handling of private user data and security practices.
Chew is facing an uphill battle, as lawmakers have seemingly become more dug in and hostile to the app. U.S. officials have been sounding the alarms on the app as well, with FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying to Congress in early March that the app “screams out with national security concerns.”
Here are the latest updates as Chew tries to convince a skeptical Congress that the app poses no danger to national security.
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CEO in for ‘tough fight’ defending Chinese ownership on Capitol Hill
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday morning, his first appearance before a Congressional committee. Chew is expected to make the case to the American people that selling TikTok to a U.S. company would not address national security concerns.
The U.S. worries that TikTok could be pressured into handing over U.S. user data to the Chinese government or that it could be used as a propaganda machine to manipulate Americans. TikTok says it protects U.S. users by storing their personal data outside China and says it does not share information with Beijing.
“I’ll be testifying before Congress this week to share all that we’re doing to protect Americans using the app,” Chew said.
– Jessica Guynn
Is TikTok getting banned? CEO in for ‘tough fight’ defending Chinese ownership on Capitol Hill
U.S. calls for TikTok owners to sell stakes in company
The issue came to a head last week when the Biden administration demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their stakes or face a possible ban.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, a federal task force that considers national security risks in cross-border business investments, made the demand, according to TikTok.
“Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok. Now, this could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you,” Chew said in a video Tuesday before the hearing.
– Jessica Guynn
What would happen if the US banned TikTok?
If the United States bans TikTok, it may remove it from the Apple and Google app stores. That would prevent users from getting updates and new users from signing up.
Americans could still install TikTok on their phones by “sideloading” it or they could access TikTok via browsers, according to Bruce Schneier, lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of “A Hacker’s Mind.”
The U.S. also might ban U.S. companies from doing business with TikTok, which would cut it off from the infrastructure needed to run the app. That would also hit TikTok’s advertising business.
– Jessica Guynn
More: TikTok says Biden administration is threatening US ban if Chinese owners don’t sell stakes
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: TikTok CEO testifies to Congress as it floats a ban: Live updates
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