TikTok CEO grilled over security concerns

In the highly anticipated hearing, TikTok’s CEO faced harsh criticism from U.S. lawmakers over national security and privacy concerns surrounding the app.


CEO Shou Zi Chew sat for roughly five hours of questioning before a House panel, drawing broad criticism and tense pushback from members of both parties throughout the hearing.


Lawmakers questioned Chew about how TikTok plans to tackle various security concerns raised, including the spread of disinformation, the safety of minors and China’s ability to access U.S. data through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese-based parent company.


Chew attempted to appease the lawmakers by outlining several steps TikTok has taken to address the issues raised.


He noted the implementation of a plan known as Project Texas, which would store data on U.S. users with Oracle — a Texas-based software company.


This stems from concerns that since TikTok is owned by ByteDance it could be subject to Chinese laws on handing over data.


Despite Chew’s attempts to sell Project Texas as a way to resolve some of the concerns, lawmakers said they weren’t convinced.


“I still believe that the Beijing communist government will still control and have the ability to influence what you do, and so this idea of Project Texas is simply not acceptable,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who serves as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce panel.