TikTok CEO to testify before Congress in March amid app security questions

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before Congress in March to answer questions about the viral video app’s security measures amid growing efforts to ban it over privacy concerns.

Chew will appear in a March 23 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for his first appearance before Congress, the committee announced Monday. Lawmakers will question him about TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platform’s effect on children and the app’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, President Cathy McMorris has announced. Rodgers, R-Wa., in a statement.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has come under increased scrutiny after media reports revealed possible security flaws. Last month, President Joe Biden signed legislation banning TikTok from government devices. Several lawmakers are backing legislation to ban the app altogether in the United States.

“Big Tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society,” McMorris said in the statement. “TikTok, owned by ByteDance, knowingly allowed the Chinese Communist Party to access US users’ data. Americans deserve to know how these actions affect their privacy and data security, as well as the steps TikTok is taking to protect our children from online and offline harm.”

The Biden-approved ban, which was incorporated into the omnibus spending bill, included limited exceptions for law enforcement, national security and security research purposes. It does not apply to members of Congress and their staff, although House members have been banned from downloading the app to government-issued mobile phones.

TikTok criticized the ban in a statement, arguing that the ban was “a political move that will do nothing to advance national security interests.”

Last month, under criticism from lawmakers and regulators, the company created a new US-based trust and safety team.

Yet China’s congressional hawks have tried to curb the power of the viral video app. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. introduced legislation last week to ban the social media app in the United States

In a TweeterHawley said TikTok is “China’s backdoor into Americans’ lives,” adding, “It threatens the privacy of our children as well as their mental health. Last month, Congress banned it from all government devices. Now I will introduce legislation to ban it nationwide.”

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla. last month introduced a Senate bill to ban TikTok in the United States. A companion measure was introduced in the House by Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.

Many states have already banned the social media app on public phones and computers. Some of the state restrictions go beyond government devices to ban TikTok from anyone using campus Wi-Fi at public schools, including the University of Oklahoma and Auburn University in Alabama – which is among the app’s major user base in the United States.

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com

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