TikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week

TikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week
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TikTok’s chief is set to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill next week as the company seeks to address concerns that it poses privacy and security risks over its ties to the Chinese government. 

Alex Zhu is scheduled to meet with Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTaylor Swift on publicist's Trump warning before political post: 'F--- that, I don't care' GOP cries boredom in attack on impeachment case Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial MORE (R-Tenn.) next week, Blackburn’s office confirmed to The Hill.

Zhu also requested to meet with Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: US military jet crashes in Afghanistan | Rocket attack hits US embassy in Baghdad | Bolton bombshell rocks impeachment trial Democrats, Republicans tussle over witnesses as vote approaches GOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' MORE (R-Ark.), a foreign policy hawk and fierce China critic, but his office said it was unable to schedule it. Cotton’s aides and TikTok held staff level meetings earlier this week.

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People familiar with the matter told The Washington Post Thursday that Zhu is set to meet with several other lawmakers ,as well. Zhu has requested meetings with Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread MORE (R-Mo.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee MORE (R-Fla.), two other prominent critics of Beijing, according to The Post.

The video app has enjoyed skyrocketing popularity, having been downloaded more than 110 million times in the U.S., though it faces intense scrutiny from Capitol Hill over its ownership. TikTok was bought and repackaged by Chinese firm ByteDance and is reportedly facing a federal review over national security concerns.

While the app has sought to bolster its credibility in light of the concerns, with lawmakers floating legislation to crack down on its data practices, it could face an uphill battle to earn trust in Washington.

“It’s difficult to see a way forward for TikTok without a complete separation from its Beijing-based owner,” Cotton said in a statement to The Post.

Suspicions that TikTok was censoring content on its platform spiked last month after an account belonging to a 17-year-old high school student was briefly suspended after she posted a viral video addressing human rights abuses against China’s minority Muslim population.

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Reports have also surfaced citing TikTok employees saying that the app’s content-moderation decisions were made by China-based teams that demoted or removed content touching on U.S. social and political topics.

The skepticism of TikTok’s independence from Beijing further snowballed last month after the app's leaders skipped a congressional hearing over its ties to China.

Its parent company also faces an investigation by an arm of the federal government that reviews foreign business deals for national-security concerns, The Post reported.

Chris Mills Rodrigo contributed to his report.