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Alabama congressman accuses TikTok CEO of ‘deception’ after grilling Shou Zi Chew at House hearing

TikTok (Dreamstime/TNS)

An Alabama congressman who grilled TikTok’s CEO on the Chinese government’s influence on the social media company Thursday accused Shou Zi Chew of implementing the same “deception” used by China.

Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that held Thursday’s hearing featuring TikTok’s CEO, asked Chew whether anyone at the Chinese social media company raised concerns about the Chinese government’s stake in Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company.

There are bipartisan concerns about TikTok’s privacy and data collection practices. In December, Gov. Kay Ivey banned TikTok on all Alabama state government devices and networks.

Palmer wanted to know if anyone at TikTok was worried about Beijing’s control of the social media app’s content, including using the platform to launch misinformation campaigns, ensuring no content on TikTok reflects badly on China and the government using the app for surveillance or data collection.

The Alabama congressman suggested Chew evaded his question when the TikTok CEO answered by saying the company doesn’t remove or promote content on behalf of the Chinese government.

“Deception is fundamental to the Chinese Communist Party’s political, intelligence and military strategy,” Palmer continued. And you have repeatedly used the word ‘transparency’ throughout this hearing. And every time you’ve said it, what I’ve heard is ‘deception.’”

After Chew said TikTok screens for child predators and drug cartels on the site, Palmer questioned why the company did not ban a drug cartel’s video of Spanish police pursuing the cartel that garnered 1 million views.

“Are you doing that with terrorists or human traffickers?” Palmer asked.

The congressman also probed Chew on why Michael Beckerman, the company’s head of public policy for the Americas, did not condemn Beijing’s treatment of Ughyur Muslims, which is characterized as genocide by the United States.

“Are you scared of the Chinese communist government?” Palmer asked.


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