For many years, the American technology giants have produced millions in economic benefits for the United States, while at the same time offering an incalculable advantage to the country and the entire population in various other matters, including national security. And it is that technology companies collect all kinds of information related to users, from the most confidential aspects to the most routine of daily life, without overlooking the best kept secrets of a large part of the population. Millions of people register their personal data when opening an account as users of these companies. Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Uber or TikTok are some of the main examples.
But the security risks to which these social networks expose their users and, consequently, their governments, is increasingly in the spotlight. The US has been concerned for years that other countries try, through this route, to obtain advantages that compromise the country’s national security. TikTok leads that fight of the current Biden Administration, following the same line opened by the previous president donald trumpafter the conservative turn of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives since the last legislative elections in November.
In this direction, precisely, the legislators of both political formations called for the CEO of TikTok to testify this Thursday for the first time before the United States Congress. For its part, TikTok tried with its intervention to dispel doubts about its threat to the security of the US. The CEO of the technology company himself appeared before the headquarters of Congress while China continues to reject a forced sale.
A tense atmosphere inside the Capitol that was in stark contrast to the nature of the app’s use and the fresh, careless content generated by its users on a daily basis across the globe. The CEO of TikTok, Shou Chewappeared before the seat of the legislative power without being able to avoid receiving strong criticism from congressmen and even express requests to ban the application.
“Your platform should be banned,” he incriminated him Cathy McMorris Rodgers, representative for the fifth congressional district of the state of Washington since 2005 and chair of the Committee on Commerce and Energy of the House of Representatives. Waiting for him to say anything today to avoid that result, we will not accept it. In fact, as they celebrate 150 million US users on TikTok, that underscores the urgency for Congress to act,” McMorris continued to throw at TikTok’s CEO.
“Are 150 million US users about which the Chinese Communist Party can collect sensitive information from the United States,” added the Republican congresswoman. “TikTok itself is not available in mainland China, we are based in Los Angeles and Singapore, and we have 7,000 employees in the US,” he explained. Shou Chew in his first words to Congress about the successful social network among the youngest, highlighting the independence of TikTok and its ties to the country, in an attempt to unlink the popular app from China.
“Even so, we have heard significant concerns about the potential for unwanted foreign access to US data and potential manipulation of the TikTok ecosystem,” he added, adding that his “approach has never been to dismiss or trivialize any of those concerns. We have addressed it with real actions”, reaffirmed the CEO of TikTok.
These concerns allude to doubts from the leadership Politics of China’s direct ties to parent company ByteDance through which TikTok operates in the United Statess. Although said social network does not operate in China, since it is prohibited, the Chinese government does have significant influence over the companies that are under its jurisdiction. Hence, they can obtain benefits indirectly.
The efforts of the CEO of TikTok to reassure US lawmakers and relax the growing tension over the security risks of the application were in vain during the first hours of the audience this Thursday, highlighting the great challenges facing the network. to defend that position and what seems to be a decision already taken, from the legislative point of view.
The Biden Administration recently decided to ban the use of the app on government devices due to risks surrounding its security issues. Just yesterday, the British Parliament also banned TikTok on official devices. The social network will be “blocked” on the devices of parliamentarians.