Key events

Lawmakers are focusing more on teens and children’s mental health Tick ​​thanks now.

Rope. Gus Bilirakis shares a story about Chase Nasca, a 16-year-old boy who ended his life a year ago by stepping in front of a train.

“I want to thank his parents for being here today and for allowing us to show this,” Bilirakis said. “Mr. Chew your company ruined their lives. I admire their courage to be here and share Chase’s story in hopes that it will prevent this from happening to other fmailies. The content of Chase’s ‘For You’ page was not a window to discovery … instead his ‘For You’ page was unfortunately a window to discover suicide. It’s unacceptable, sir, that even after knowing all these dangers, you still (claim) that TikTok is something big to see.”

Bilirakis then played a series of TikToks promoting suicidal ideation.

“Do you have responsibility over the algorithms used by TikTok to prioritize content for its users,” he asks Chew.

In his response, Chew tried to emphasize that TikTok shares mental health resources, but Bilirakis pushes him on the issue, taking his attempt to address what TikTok is doing to help teen mental health as a way to avoid answering his question or taking responsibility.

Rep. Kat Cammack has presented a video posted 41 days ago that shows a gun being fired. The text above the video says “me ASF at the House Energy and Commerce Committee…” and the caption includes the name of the committee’s chair, Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

“I think this is a clear display of how vulnerable people are using Tick ​​thanks is, you failed to take action after 41 days when a clear threat, a very violent threat against the chairman of this committee and the members of this committee was posted on your platform,” Cammack said. “You know damn well you can’t protect the data and security of this committee or the 150 million users of your app because it’s an extension of the CCP.”

The chair did not allow Chew to answer.

Importantly, committee members have repeatedly sought to establish Chew’s connection to ByteDance executives — some of whom, they say, work with or are affiliated with the CCP.

Representative Diana DeGette addresses the WSJ Report again asking Chew for comment. He said he’ll have to get back to them because if ByteDance were to be forced to sell TikTok is still in development so he doesn’t have specifics but that Project Texas would protect US users no matter what.

“Does TikTok Share User Information … Abroad?” Degette asked. Chew said before, yes but with Project Texas that would no longer be the case. He reiterated that the effort to protect user data through Project Texas is more than any other company has done.

Representative Richard Hudson asked Chew about reports that ByteDance employees have accessed user data from US journalists to investigate an internal leak of information. says Chew Tick ​​thanks condemn this behavior.

“We took swift disciplinary action against employees and are implementing measures to ensure this does not happen again,” he said.

Representative Anna Eshoo has asked how Tick ​​thanks could get around Beijing’s security laws that require companies to provide data to the government and make the law’s reach “extraterritorial.” “This is very clear,” Eshoo said. “It’s China’s laws, how does TikTok convince the US Congress that it can be a clean break? Why would the Chinese government bypass their national law … when it comes to user data?”

Chew reiterated that the plan is to move US data to US soil. Eshoo is not happy: “How can you promise that the data will move to the US and be protected here?”

Chew said he has seen no evidence that the Chinese government has access to our data. “They haven’t asked us,” he said.

Eshoo said she does not believe there is a private sector in China. “When you look at their national law… I think there is a real problem in relation to our national security in terms of the protection of user data.”

The members of the committee have cited a The Wall Street Journal report indicating that China would oppose a forced sale of TikTok.

“China’s Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that a sale or divestment of Tick ​​thanks would involve the export of technology and must be approved by the Chinese government,” the article said.

Representative Michael Burgess said despite Chew’s claims, China seems to believe it has control over TikTok and its software.

Chew said that although TikTok is not available in mainland China, the founders of ByteDance are Chinese and they work with Chinese employees just like many companies around the world.

Burgess has asked if anyone from ByteDance is “directly providing input, assistance or instructions for your testimony today”. Chew said he prepared for this hearing with his team in DC.

As a reminder, ByteDance is the parent company of TikTok.

Pallone said he doesn’t think Project Texas is enough and that the CCP will still be able to access the data.

Now he asks about some of TikTok’s finances, including how much money the company makes from targeted ads. Chew refuses to share it because the company is private and thus its finances are private.

“My concern here is primarily the privacy issue, the fact that TikTok makes all kinds of money by collecting private information about Americans … and then they sell it,” Pallone said, addressing the privacy legislation he and Rodgers are pushing. “Would you commit not to sell the data to anyone?”

Chew said the company doesn’t sell data to data brokers, Pallone says he’s talking about selling or sharing data to anyone. Chew said he will get back to him on the details.

Chew said the company is committed to being transparent about the data it collects and that he doesn’t believe the company collects more data than any other technology platform. Pallone said that’s not his point: He knows all tech companies collect data he doesn’t think they should and wants to see if Tiktok would commit to being a good actor and stop collecting data.

Rodgers asked Chew if he is in regular contact with various executives at Bytedance. He said he was in regular contact with the parent company’s CEO.

“All of these individuals work for or are affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and are at the highest management levels of ByteDance,” Rodgers responded. “A company where you were previously CFO and where you regularly communicate with the CEO.”

Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s CEO, begins his testimony by emphasizing his Singaporean heritage. He has tried this strategy before in a letter to lawmakers when he first took over the company. Tick ​​thanks is run by a Singaporean based in Singapore, he wrote in that letter, and is not beholden to the Chinese government.

Chew also points out that the company’s 150 million users in the US use the platform for various purposes that include educational videos.

To address lawmakers’ national security concerns, Chew talks about Project Texas — an effort to move all U.S. data to domestic servers. He said the company is removing all user data backed up to servers outside the US, and that it should all be deleted later this year.

“Trust is about actions we take, we have to earn your trust with decisions we make … the potential security, privacy … are not unique to us. We believe what is needed are clear and transparent rules that target all technology companies,” Chew said.

He concludes with this: “There are more than 150 million users who love our platform and we know we have a responsibility to protect them and that is why I am making the following commitment to you and all our users:

1) We will have the highest priority for us, especially for teenagers.
2) We will protect US data from a firewall from unwanted foreign access
3) TikTok will remain a place of free speech and will not be manipulated by any government
4) We will be transparent and we will provide access to independent third-party monitors to remain accountable to our commitments.”

Ranking member Frank Pallonea Democrat from New Jersey, focuses more on spreading misinformation about Tick ​​thanks, and the platform’s impact on teen mental health. He also takes the opportunity to speak to urge a bill that would create a federal privacy law that would govern all big tech’s data collection practices.

Good morning, the hearing has begun.

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, spoke passionately about his concerns with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. The main thrust of her argument is that Tick ​​thanks constitutes a “serious threat” from foreign influence on American life. She claims that China requires companies to allow the government to access their data, by design.

Rodgers tells Chew that he must answer not only to Congress, but also to the American people.

TikTok CEO will begin testifying shortly

Good morning and welcome to our live blog of today’s interrogation of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew past United States Congress members.

The panel, convened by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, begins at 10 a.m. ET and is titled TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy And Protect Children From Online Harms.

This marks the first appearance by a TikTok executive before US lawmakers. It comes as the political storm surrounding the Chinese-owned social media platform intensifies, with Biden administration threatening to ban the app entirely in the US.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has long faced criticism over the data it holds on American users — data that lawmakers fear could fall into the hands of the Chinese government.

According to prepared statements shared in advance, Chew is expected to insist that TikTok has never, and would never, share US user data with the Chinese government, nor let the government manipulate what content appears on the platform.

“Let me say this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country,” Chew said.

Stay tuned for more updates as the hearing begins.