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TikTok CEO Says Spying Is Not The Right Word For Surveillance Of Americans

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Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, stated during Thursday’s hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that “spying”, which refers to alleged Chinese surveillance on Americans through his company’s social media platform, is not the right term.

Rep. Neal Dunn (R.FL) asked Chew whether TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has spied upon American citizens.

Chew stated that “I don’t believe that spying” is the best way to describe it.”

Dunn inquired about ByteDance’s FBI and Justice Department investigations after ByteDance admitted firing four employees who used the app to track two journalists in the United States.

After ByteDance admitted that its employees improperly accessed data from U.S. users’, congressional critics expressed concern about TikTok surveillance practices. Forbes reports that subpoenas have been issued by the DOJ to ByteDance. It’s not clear how far the investigation into this incident has progressed. Although the FBI interviewed several people about the matter, it is unclear if this interview was part of the same investigation.

A spokesperson for ByteDance addressed the issue in a statement. He stated that “we have strongly condemned” the actions of those involved and that they have been fired from ByteDance.

Washington DC lawmakers continue to examine whether the legislative branch should pursue a ban on TikTok, or privacy legislation, to address concerns about the controversial app’s national security and privacy impacts. Others call for TikTok to be separated from ByteDance.

Rep. Bob Latta (R OH) also criticized TikTok’s hosting of dangerous trends that have claimed the lives of American teenagers and children.

While the House continued to question TikTok CEO Thom Tillis (R.NC) called for lawmakers to end TikTok. He described it as one the “biggest geopolitical dangers America has ever faced.”

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