TikTok CEO Shou Chew promised a House committee Thursday that his company would protect user data from “unwanted” foreign access and is committed to free expression.
Committee Chair Rep. Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and ranking member Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., opened the hearing by detailing why lawmakers worry about the influence of the app. Rodgers called TikTok “a grave threat” of Chinese foreign influence.
But Chew countered those accusations, saying the app is not available in mainland China and is a private company, not owned by the Chinese government. He tried to assuage the concerns that China would have access to U.S. users’ data by explaining some of the details of Project Texas, TikTok’s effort to store U.S. user data on U.S. soil with oversight from American personnel. The company is building a “firewall that seals off protected user access,” Chew said, and reports to an independent American board with “strong security credentials.”
He also noted the app is deleting U.S. data from servers. “When that is done, all protected U.S. data will be under the protection of U.S. law, and under the control of the U.S.-led security team,” Chew said.
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