A U.S. House subcommittee chair wants TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to answer questions next week on the popular Chinese-owned video app’s attempts to safeguard minors from harmful content and exploitation.
Chew will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23 for the first time.
“We need to know what efforts the firm is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline hazards,” Republican Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Thursday.
“Many youngsters are exposed to non-stop offers of improper information that TikTok’s algorithm force-feeds to them,” McMorris Rodgers and other Republicans wrote in December. In addition, they worry that TikTok live-streamed events allow adults to “persuade minors to undertake sexually provocative activities” with money.
ByteDance, which owns TikTok, said the Biden administration threatened to prohibit the app in the U.S. if its Chinese owners did not sell their holdings.
“Americans ought to know the degree to which ByteDance-owned TikTok’s connection with China jeopardizes and manipulates their privacy and data,” she continued. The U.S. is concerned that China may receive TikTok user data.
TikTok, which could not immediately respond, said earlier this month it is creating a mechanism to let parents block their teenagers from seeing material with particular terms or hashtags on the short-form video app.
New TikTok features limit app use. For example, teens must input a passcode to access the app and have a one-hour daily limit.
TikTok and the Biden administration have negotiated data security criteria for two years. As a result, TikTok denied snooping and spent over $1.5 billion on data security.