Americans saw a number of viral moments during Thursday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing focused on security concerns surrounding the use of TikTok in the U.S.
During the hearing, lawmakers questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew over allegations the platform may be being used by China to spy on Americans, its ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the inappropriate content contained within it.
In one viral moment, Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., played a video posted by one TikTok user who threatened to shoot up the hearing, specifically naming members of the committee, that has remained viewable for 41 days.
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In the video, a cartoon of a handgun can be seen firing bullets with the caption, “Me asf at the House Energy and Commerce Committee on 3/23/2023.”
Cammack noted the video was in violation of TikTok’s safety guidelines, and questioned how Chew and the leadership of the platform were capable of protecting Americans’ data if they were incapable of policing such content.
In another instance, Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., asked Chew if ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, had “spied on American citizens,” but the CEO didn’t give a direct answer.
“I don’t think that spying is the right way to describe it,” he responded.
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At a separate point in the hearing, Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, pressed Chew over whether employees at ByteDance had access to Americans’ user data. He avoided directly answering the question, telling Latta it was a “complex topic.”
“Yes or no? It’s not that complex. Yes or no? Do they have access to U.S. data?” Latta said. Chew then appeared to admit China did have access to such data up until a certain point.
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On another occasion, Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., pressed Chew on whether he agreed that the Chinese government had persecuted the country’s Uyghur minority population in the country’s western region of Xinjiang.
Chew responded by saying that all human rights abuses were “deeply concerning” to hear about, before Lesko interrupted him and asked him again specifically about the Uyghurs.
Chew, again, didn’t answer the question, and ultimately avoided answering a total of four times.
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