TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was recently grilled by US Congress over his platform’s data collection practices and relation to China. During the hearing, members of Congress repeatedly raised concerns about China’s potential to gain access to user data managed by TikTok parent company ByteDance, due to the company’s base in China. However, while concerns about China’s influence were raised, questioning often avoided giving Chew time to answer, and sometimes devolved into xenophobic rhetoric. The hearing was widely criticised by TikTok users, who posted videos mocking Congress and pointing out the hypocrisy of targeting TikTok while ignoring data abuse by US competitors. The intense scrutiny of Chinese-owned technology companies is part of a wider geopolitical trend, with increasing emphasis placed on national security and competition between the US and China. While Chew was subjected to intense scrutiny, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai faced little to no repercussions from their own Congressional hearings.
Wasn’t that TikTok hearing quite chaotic?
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