TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew's testimony last week proves that the Chinese-based social media video site represents an "immediate threat" and it should be banned in the United States, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Sunday.
“What the hearing made clear to me was that TikTok should be banned in the United States of America to address the immediate threat and we also need a national data privacy law," the Washington state Republican told CNN's "State of the Union."
"TikTok cannot be trusted," McMorris Rodgers added. "They have repeatedly lied so they cannot be trusted to protect our data. They cannot be trusted to ensure that our children's mental health is a priority."
Shou also claimed that TikTok is a private independent company, even though it is connected to Beijing-based ByteDance, said McMorris Rodgers.
TikTok has responded to CNN with a statement, commenting that the way to address concerns with the company is through "transparent U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing.”
“I would say there is an immediate threat via TikTok from the Chinese Communist Party. That is the reason that I believe we need to ban TikTok immediately. It is a national security threat,” McMorris Rodgers said. “It united Republicans and Democrats on the committee as to the urgent need for us to take action.”
She also responded to criticism from TikTok users who are questioning why Congress would be spending time regulating social media, and from users who are mocking lawmakers for not being familiar with the service.
“We need to take action whether it’s TikTok, big tech or other data brokers to restrict the amount of data that they’re collecting, to begin with,” she said.
"We need to protect kids, and we have the strongest protections for kids in the privacy proposal that we have been working on to protect anyone under the age of 17," she added, noting that potential legislation would say that a company like TikTok would not be able to listen to conversations through an app or device without users giving permission.
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