TikTok executive says House hearing ‘felt rooted in xenophobia’

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew listens during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on the platform’s consumer privacy and data security practices and impact on children, Thursday, March 23, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

TikTok’s chief operating officer blasted the House’s hearing on the platform Thursday, saying that it came from a place of xenophobia.

“We’re committed to providing a safe, secure platform, that fosters an inclusive place for our amazing, diverse communities to call home. It’s a shame today’s conversation felt rooted in xenophobia,” Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s COO, wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to our employees who work tirelessly to protect our platform & community.”

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified on Thursday in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers grilled him on concerns of censorship and national security regarding the platform.

Representatives of the social media platform accused the hearing of being “dominated by political grandstanding” in a tweet on Thursday.

“Our CEO, @ShouChew, came prepared to answer questions from Congress, but unfortunately, the day was dominated by political grandstanding that failed to acknowledge real solutions already underway through Project Texas or address industry-wide issues of youth safety,” TikTok posted on Twitter.

“Also not mentioned today by members of the @HouseCommerce Committee: the livelihoods of the 5 million businesses on TikTok or the First Amendment implications of banning a platform loved by 150 million Americans,” the post continued.

The hearing comes after the Biden administration demanded that the Chinese-owned parent company of TikTok sell its shares or risk getting banned in the United States. China said on Thursday that it would “resolutely oppose” any forced sale of the app.

Tags big tech China congress First amendment Shou Chew Shou Zi Chew TikTok Vanessa Pappas

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