India banned TikTok in 2020 on concerns that the app posed threat to national security.
Chinese social media app TikTok’s chief executive officer Shou Zi Chew will testify before the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee. Chew, who will appear before the Congressional Committee for the first time, will testify on the company’s privacy and data security practices on March 23.
“ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data. Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms,” the Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in a statement on Monday.
“We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people,” she added.
The Chinese company confirmed Chew’s appearance and noted this as an opportunity to “set the record straight.” The short-video platform also denied McMorris Rodgers’s claims that TikTok has made user data available to the Chinese Communist Party, which has no direct or indirect control over it or its parent ByteDance.
The news highlights rising political scrutiny on TikTok as its negotiations with the U.S. government over the country’s national security continue to drag on. As read in a Reuters report, the Chinese company has been in negotiations with Washington for three years, assuring the U.S. government that its users’ data cannot be accessed and content cannot be manipulated by the Communist Party or anyone else in its home country.
However, the Biden government had argued that the social media app poses a “high risk due to a number of security issues.” In December, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration banned the app on all House-managed devices in the U.S. Following this, a partial or full ban on the Chinese app was imposed by several states in the United States, which has at least 100 million TikTok users.
Elsewhere, the Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States Brendan Carr earlier this month lauded India’s move to ban the Chinese app in 2020. He noted that the country had set an “incredibly important precedent” by banning the ByteDance-owned app.
India banned hundreds of Chinese apps two years ago stating that these apps posed threats to the “national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India.” Prior to the ban, India was TikTok’s largest market with over 200 million monthly active users.