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The CEO of TikTok will testify before Congress amid security concerns about the app

The TikTok app logo is pictured in Tokyo, Sept. 28, 2020. University of Wisconsin System officials said Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, that they will restrict the use of TikTok on system devices.
Kiichiro Sato
/
AP
The TikTok app logo is pictured in Tokyo, Sept. 28, 2020. University of Wisconsin System officials said Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, that they will restrict the use of TikTok on system devices.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will testify before Congress in March, amid nationwide efforts to ban the social media app among government employees and schools due to concerns about privacy and its effect on young people's mental health.

Chew is scheduled to stand before the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce committee on March 23.

The committee alleged the app is linked to the Chinese Communist Party, and said in a statement, "Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms."

"We've made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee's efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people," it added.

The app, owned by ByteDance, Inc., has been under fire since the Trump administration, when the former president signed an executive order to enforce a nationwide ban of the app, but ByteDance sued and it never went through.

However, last month, President Biden approved a ban of the app on all devices issued by the federal government.

Some public universities and government agencies have used the app for marketing and recruiting purposes, but at least 16 states are taking steps to forbid the use of the app while using state government networks.

TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter told NPR the company is "disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states."

She says TikTok will continue to work with the federal government to try to "meaningfully address" security concerns. The company is currently negotiating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) over the terms of its operations in this country.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ayana Archie