House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says an investigation into banning TikTok will move forward. This move follows the CEO’s testimony in front of Congress last week.
TikTok CEO Shou Chew’s testimony in front of Congress “increased the likelihood that Congress will take some action,” reports Mike Gallagher (R-WI). “They’ve actually united Republicans and Democrats out of the concern of allowing the Chinese Communist Party to control the most dominant media platform in America.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy echoed those sentiments in a statement on Twitter. “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.”
TikTok’s internal plan to keep U.S. data segregated is called ‘Project Texas,’ but the endeavor drew criticism from lawmakers. “There are whistleblowers coming forward saying that whatever the TikTok management is saying about Project Texas is a pack of lies,” says Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).
“The key part that’s missing from Project Texas’ mitigation strategy is control of the algorithm,” adds Gallagher. That’s what we really need to address. It’s not just exfiltrating data from an American phone, it’s what they’re able to push to Americans through the algorithm—control our sense of reality, control the news, meddle in future elections.”
Chew gave testimony in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who sought to learn more about TikTok’s privacy concerns. When asked whether the Chinese government could insist on data being handed over, Chew says he had not seen any evidence of that. “I think a lot of the risks are pointed out are hypothetical and theoretical risks. I have not seen any evidence,” he told lawmakers.
“We have to recognize that while TikTok is another social media app, and we have a generalized concern about these social media apps, it’s different in kind from any other social media app because its parent company is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party,” Krishnamoorthi continues. Both Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi sit on the House Intelligence Committee.