On Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Chew Florida admitted to Congresswoman Kat Cammack that the Chinese-owned social media service does access user data during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
"My colleague, Representative Lada, confirmed that your parent company ByteDance currently can access user data, yes?" Cammack asked. After Chew said "we have to be more specific" he said "Yes," and added "some user data is public data."
TikTok has been criticized for putting users' personal data into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party despite parent company ByteDance going to great lengths to publicly downplay their ties to the CCP. According to the company, 60 percent of their shares are owned by global investors, 20 percent by employees and 20 percent by its founders.
The app has over 100 million users in the US.
The Biden administration gave federal agencies 30 days to remove the app on government devices and systems last month. Over 30 states have also banned employees from using TikTok on government-owned devices.
According to NPR, Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said during Thursday's hearing, "To the American people watching today, hear this: TikTok is a weapon by the Chinese Communist Party to spy on you and manipulate what you see and exploit for future generations."
Rodgers asked Chew if his app was used to spy on Americans on behalf of the CCP and Chew responded that his app was "free from any manipulation from any government."
Rodgers said, "If you can't say it 100 percent certain, I take that as a 'no.'"
Chew also said that the company instituted a restructuring plan named Project Texas to make Americans more confident their data was not being used by the CCP.
CNBC reports that Chew admitted there is some US user data that they "need to delete" and would do so after Project Texas was fully implemented.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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