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Business News/ News / World/  TikTok ban in US? Lawmakers to move ahead with bill amid China surveillance row
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TikTok ban in US? Lawmakers to move ahead with bill amid China surveillance row

CEO Shou Zi Chew insisted recently that TikTok had never turned over user data to the Chinese government. Lawmakers however note that Chinese law compels companies such as TikTok's parent company to fork over data to the government for whatever purposes it deems to involve national security.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew leaves after testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee (AFP)Premium
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew leaves after testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee (AFP)

Amid growing calls for a TikTok ban, US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicated on Sunday that it would move forward with legislation to ‘protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party’. The development comes mere days after TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by US lawmakers about national security and other concerns involving the app.

“It's very concerning that the CEO of TikTok can't be honest and admit what we already know to be true—China has access to TikTok user data. The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party," McCarthy said.

The TikTok CEO had asserted on Thursday that the social media app had not spied on Americans at Beijing's request. "I don't think that spying is the right way to describe it," he added, upon being asked about the company's earlier disclosures. 

TikTok had said in December that China-based employees at ByteDance improperly accessed TikTok user data of two journalists and were no longer employed by the company.

Western governments are growing increasingly worried that TikTok’s owner, Beijing-based ByteDance, might give browsing history or other data about users to China’s government or promote propaganda and disinformation. The US and other nations have banned TikTok from government-owned devices, as have several states. The US Committee on Foreign Investment, part of Biden's Treasury Department, has reportedly threatened to ban TikTok if ByteDance doesn't sell its stake in the app

Meanwhile many of the app's 150 million US users have protested the move, determined to keep making and watching short, fun videos on the platform. They have also found support in some Democratic lawmakers, who joined protests earlier this week. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 26 Mar 2023, 11:57 PM IST
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