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Hearing for TikTok boss, threatened with US ban, begins in Congress


The Chinese social network is accused of endangering the national security and the health of its users

Shou Chew, the boss of TikTok, a subsidiary of the Chinese group ByteDance, is heard Thursday by American elected officials who accuse him of endangering the national security and the health of his users, and have partly condemned him in advance.

Tiktok, suspected by many governments of providing access to user data in Beijing, faces a total ban in the United States.


I imagine you're going to say everything you can today to avoid this outcome

," said Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House's powerful Energy and Trade Committee.


We don't believe you

," she said.


ByteDance is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party and ByteDance and

TikTok are the same


Political pressure against the hugely popular social network has skyrocketed in recent months on both sides of the Atlantic.

The White House, the European Commission, and the Canadian and British governments have banned their officials from using it.

On Tuesday, the BBC advised its staff to remove TikTok from work phones.

Many regulators suspect the app of giving Beijing access to user data, which it has always denied.

The Chinese government does not own or control ByteDance.

It's a private company

," Shou Chew said during his opening remarks.

In the United States, the February destruction of a supposed Chinese spy balloon sparked renewed tensions with China.

Several bills are in the pipeline to ban TikTok, used by 150 million people every month in the country (1 billion worldwide).

A transfer would be complicated

The White House hinted that if TikTok remained in the ByteDance fold, it would be banned.

But a sale, even if the parent company agreed, would be very complicated.

The success of the platform is very much due to its powerful recommendation algorithms, and "

separating the algorithm between


and ByteDance is like surgery between Siamese twins

", notes analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush, for AFP.

TikTok still hopes to appease the authorities.

The company has already spent around 1.5 billion dollars for the establishment of "

Project Texas

", which consists in hosting the data of American users only in the United States, on servers of the Texas-based Oracle group.

Earlier this month, we began deleting all US data stored on non-Oracle servers

,” Shou Chew said Wednesday in a document submitted to the commission and posted on its site.

Thanks to this ad hoc subsidiary of TikTok, USDS, "

it is impossible for the Chinese government to access it or to force (the company) to give it access



I appreciate Mr. Chew coming to answer questions in front of Congress, but

TikTok's lack of transparency, repeated filibusters and inaccurate facts have seriously undermined the credibility of any statements by TikTok employees

, including Mr. Chew.

Republican Senator Mark Warner said in a statement Wednesday.

“Why so much hysteria around TikTok?”

The Singaporean boss, a former Harvard student, will also face questions about TikTok's responsibilities for the mental and physical health of children and adolescents.

And elected officials also fear that the application will serve as a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party to manipulate public opinion.

On the contrary, it participates in the cultural influence of the United States, assures TikTok.

According to the company, US users make up 10% of its global base, but 25% of views.

TikTok and several associations believe that a complete ban - as in India since 2020 - would fall under censorship.

Why so much hysteria around



“Asked Wednesday evening the Democratic representative Jamaal Bowman, during a press conference with content creators who came to defend their favorite network.

The platform presents the same risks for data privacy, user addiction or misinformation as "

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter

", argued the chosen one, calling for an "

honest conversation on all social networks

" .

I hate to say it, but


is the best (platform)

,” content creator @veronicaandthebabyboo said on the platform.

If you ban

TikTok you will destroy small businesses, you will silence people from minorities and the LGBTQ community, you will deprive people of their main moral support,

” she wrote in a video showing Veronica, a of her two cats that she stages.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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