Just a few days ago, short video app TikTok broke the 150 million user mark in the US, according to CEO Shou Zi Chew. On Thursday, the 40-year-old manager had to defend the video portal, which is especially popular with young people, in the US Congress. Not only in the USA, there are massive data protection concerns and suspicions that the Chinese government could be misusing TikTok – a subsidiary of Chinese internet giant Bytedance – for espionage purposes.
In his hearing before the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, Xu Ziqiu tried to refute the suspicion and avert a complete ban of the app in the US. “We do not promote or remove content at the request of the Chinese government,” Qiu said. “We are committed to this committee and to all of our users that we will keep TikTok free from any government manipulation.”
“You will continue
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Frank Palloni, criticized the company for not distancing itself from the Beijing government. “You will continue to collect data, continue to sell data, and continue to be sponsored by the Communist Party.” Many countries have already banned TikTok from the company’s cell phones because of the potential for transmitting user data. TikTok, which already has more than 1 billion users worldwide, is also banned on the devices of US government employees and in the White House. A few days ago, another country, the Netherlands, banned the use of TikTok on the company’s mobile phones.
Qiu had earlier indicated billions in investments to protect the data of 150 million US users. It will be stored in the country and protected from external access. Republican committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers had expressed doubts before the meeting: “It is clear that TikTok will say everything to ensure that it is not banned in the United States.”
freedom of expression vs
In Congress, 20 lawmakers and senators support a bipartisan initiative that would give the government the power to ban foreign technology if it threatens national security. This could remove a major hurdle to banning TikTok that former US President Donald Trump failed to overcome in 2020. Courts have overturned the ban imposed by decree because it curtails the right to freedom of expression. According to experts, lawsuits should also be expected with a new law.
warned Jamil Jafar, director of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, which is dedicated to the commitment to protecting free speech. There are also critics of the ban among Democratic members of Congress. Some of them joined a demonstration by TikTok influencers on Wednesday. According to experts, banning the app would hurt the Democratic Party as it reaches young voters.
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