This past Sunday, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that legislators would be pushing through a bill proposing a full-scale nationwide ban against TikTok in the wake of the video-sharing app’s CEO testifying in front of Congres this past week.
Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, went before the House Energy and Commerce Committee officials to testify in front of the panel regarding their national security threats, safety issues, and data privacy, for the 150 million Americans that make use of the app.
As part of the hearing, Chew failed to actually answer whether individuals associated with ByteDance, the social media platform’s parent company in China, assisted in the preparation for the hearing. Lawmakers went on to press Chew asking if the app has at any point spied on the American public at the request of Bejing, which was denied by the CEO.
“It’s very concerning that the CEO of TikTok can’t be honest and admit what we already know to be true—China has access to TikTok user data,” stated McCarthy via a tweet. “The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.”
It's very concerning that the CEO of TikTok can't be honest and admit what we already know to be true—China has access to TikTok user data.
The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 26, 2023
Previously, McCarthy has stated that he would be in support of a wholesale nationwide ban on TikTok as both Republican and Democrat lawmakers have voiced concern about allegations that the Chinese Communist Party could be accessing American user data via links between ByteDance and TikTok, as well as to what extent to which officials in China have total power and influence in both companies.
“I think you see a bipartisan concern here with what’s happening on TikTok, especially what’s happening to the data for Americans,” stated McCarthy in a release to The Hill. “There’s many different ramifications here, so I think they could come together and let the committees do their work and see what the product comes out when it gets done.”
The chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) stated to ABC News this past weekend that the appearance of Chew before Congress “actually increased the likelihood that Congress will take some action.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) explained that the testimony to Congress failed to assist TikTok’s alleged threat to the security of the nation.
“TikTok did itself no favors on Thursday when CEO Shou Zi Chew gave his testimony,” explained Krishnamoorthi in another post. “In fact, some of the answers he gave only raised more questions about the enormous existing security risks I’ve been fighting to address.”