TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew: What's next in the US?
Photo: Bloomberg / Bloomberg via Getty Images
TikTok, the flagship app of the Chinese group ByteDance, is getting more and more opposition from US politicians.
The company has now confirmed that its boss, Shou Zi Chew, will answer questions before Congress in March.
For the app, which has more than 100 million users in the United States alone, a law is already being debated in the House of Representatives that could completely ban the app for reasons of national security.
The app has already been banned from millions of government employees' work phones.
The core accusation is the misuse of user data.
"TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, knowingly allowed the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data," said Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who heads the Energy and Trade Committee.
That's why she summoned Chew for March 23rd.
Charm offensive with »Project Texas«
As the "New York Times" reports, the social media group has made a U-turn in its dealings with authorities and parliaments: in the past, the company was more reserved and avoided the public eye.
However, this was not enough to silence the repeated criticism of the app, which is being attacked, among other things, because of its recommendation algorithms.
So Chew is now looking for a direct conversation.
He has also increased TikTok lobbying activity.
During a brief visit to Washington recently, Chew met with representatives from influential think tanks and advocacy groups and unveiled "Project Texas," which aims to calm American concerns.
According to this, the company should remain in Chinese hands, but the data of American users should be stored with the US provider Oracle.
In addition, TikTok wants to form a committee that will revise the moderation policy.
Although TikTok does not want to disclose its recommendation algorithms, it does want to have them audited by an external company.
However, it is far from certain whether this will be enough to appease US politicians: the app was already under heavy criticism in the United States under Donald Trump, and thanks to a series of new scandals, Joe Biden's government is not on the group much more positive attitude.
ByteDance recently admitted that employees had gained unauthorized access to the data of two US journalists.
Chew also recently visited Brussels, but apparently couldn't allay the concerns of European politicians.
After a meeting, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton even threatened consequences if TikTok did not implement the new European online legislation to Brussels' satisfaction.