TikTok CEO discussed security concerns during hearing with US lawmakers

US lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Thursday accused TikTok of providing harmful content and causing “emotional distress” to young users, criticizing the CEO of the Chinese-run app National ownership of the company’s overwhelming influence on teenagers.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington, began the hearing with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said that within minutes of creating an account on TikTok, the content algorithm encourages content that self-harms and eats disorders, and encourages “dangerous” challenges. dangerous” can endanger the life of children.

Representative Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, said content on TikTok “exacerbates feelings of emotional stress” in children.

Chew, in his first appearance before Congress, testified that while the “vast majority” of TikTok users are over the age of 18, the company has invested in measures to protect young people using the app. This.

The hearing comes at a critical time for TikTok, as the Biden administration is facing growing pressure from lawmakers to ban the app in the country over security concerns. nation. TikTok is owned by ByteDancea Chinese technology company.

Lawmakers asked Chew about whether the Chinese government can access US user data and how it prevents harmful content from reaching young users.

Representative Bob Latta, a Republican from Ohio, spoke during a hearing about a 10-year-old girl who suffocated while performing a so-called “blackout challenge” from videos posted on the app. Latta said TikTok should not be protected by Section 230 of the Communication Discipline Act of 1996, a law that typically grants immunity to online platforms for user-generated content.

Chew later said during the hearing that content like dangerous challenges is prohibited on TikTok.

TikTok has been rolling out more parental control tools lately, and earlier this month said it was in the early stages of developing a feature that would allow parents to block their children from watching videos containing certain words or phrases. hashtags.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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