TikTok CEO tries to appease Republican critics

The TikTok logo is blurred from right to left on the screen.

photo: Olivier Dourier/AFP (Getty Images)

TikTok executives are trying Reassure Republican officials that U.S. data is safe and secure in the hands of companies, but their best attempt is unlikely to make any of these Republican lawmakers A war path away from popular social apps.

This New York Times It was first reported that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was Trying to explain a company’s data policy to a hostile lawmaker.chewable letter is a response to nine Republican senators call the company In response to recent reports that TikTok is allowing the Chinese government to access U.S. user data. The lawmakers’ first letter to executives on June 27 also questioned whether TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, allows its parent company to play a role in decisions about data use and its social algorithms.

The office of Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee provided Gizmodo with Chew’s response.CEO’s letter tries to explain how ‘100%’ of US data is stored by OracleHe further claimed that the company was working on “advanced data security controls” that could protect U.S. data through “independent oversight.”

All of this fuss was sparked by a report from Buzzfeed that cited an internal taped conversation of TikTok engineers who talked about “Everything is seen in China,” with a hint that it included U.S. user data. Although the company had previously tried to reassure members of Congress that it kept all U.S. data in-house and out of Beijing’s hands. Just before Buzzfeed’s June 17 article, TikTok announced The migration of U.S. data to Oracle’s servers has been completed, in what the company dubs the “Texas Project.” However, the company remains vague about the controls it enforces.

Both a spokesperson and CEO of TikTok called the Buzzfeed report “incorrect and unsupported by facts.” Those involved in the data transfer process “couldn’t get the full picture,” Zhou said, and meetings where employees expressed concerns were taken out of context. He further claimed that they did not hand over the U.S. data to the Chinese Communist Party, but the Chinese Communist Party never asked for it either.

Zhou’s letter further sought to answer Republicans’ concerns, saying that foreign employees — including those in China — “have access to TikTok U.S. user data” subject to authorization and security protocols established by U.S. security services.While he said ByteDance’s engineers “may assist” in developing TikTok’s algorithm, it is speculated that the Texas project will Review and verify any changes.

Nothing in Zhou’s letter appeared to deflect any Republicans’ anger at the company. Blackburn, who has become a figurehead against TikTok among her fellow Republicans, now appears keen to take action against the company.Notably, she is another side govern Regulator release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. She is also known as “Big telcos’ best friends in Congress. “

“TikTok’s response confirms that our concerns about China’s influence within the company are well-founded,” Blackburn said in an emailed statement. “They should have been clean from the start and instead tried to cover up their work in secret. Americans need to know that if they are on TikTok, Communist China has their message. TikTok needs to come back and testify before Congress.”

Republicans are particularly opposed to social media apps, especially since former President Donald Trump demanded ByteDance Sell ​​TikTok Its perceptual use of U.S. data.later attempts Banned transactions with TikTok are blocked by court. On the other hand, President Joe Biden is taking a softer, quieter approach to potential regulation.Last year, the Biden administration announced that they were Create a new “frame” To determine whether foreign-owned applications pose a risk to national security.

Just this week, FCC member Brendan Carr can alsoI am against TikTok.he wrote a letter On Wednesday, Google parent Alphabet and Apple said both companies should remove TikTok from their app stores.

Carr named special under Trump Trump-y Big tech rivals. In a previous interview with Gizmodo, Carr said: “You get TikTok’s head of U.S. policy to say and say that our data is all stored in the U.S….and get a lot of evasive answers.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. has done relatively little to protect the privacy of U.S. social media companies.

Read the Republicans’ questions and TikTok’s answers below:



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