TikTok chief cancels meetings with US lawmakers

Alex Zhu, founding father of Musical.ly Inc., poses for {a photograph} in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The head of TikTook, which is dealing with scrutiny over its ties with China, is suspending conferences with U.S. lawmakers that had been originally expected for this week, the social media web site stated.

“TikTok has no higher priority than ensuring Congress Members’ questions are addressed fully and transparently. To ensure these conversations are as productive as possible, we’re looking forward to holding these meetings after the holidays,” a spokesperson stated in an announcement late Monday.

TikTook had requested conferences with lawmakers who suspect the corporate censors content material according to Chinese officers’ preferences and that consumer knowledge might be accessed by the Chinese authorities.

TikTook has repeatedly denied the allegations. In his first interview as chief of TikTook final month, Alex Zhu rejected all allegations of political censorship on the app. He advised The New York Times that if Chinese President Xi Jinping requested him to take away a video or hand over consumer knowledge, “I would turn him down.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted Monday evening that TikTook canceled the assembly scheduled for this week. He additionally implied that the corporate was taking orders from its Chinese dad or mum firm to not meet with U.S. lawmakers.

The U.S. Army has barred soldiers from using the app following a nationwide safety concern, and TikTook’s Chinese dad or mum ByteDance faces a nationwide safety overview from the Committee on Foreign Investment within the U.S. over its 2017 acquisition of TikTook precursor Musical.ly, an individual acquainted with the matter previously told CNBC.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., requested the review, claiming in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that there’s “ample and growing evidence that TikTok’s platform for Western markets, including the U.S., is censoring content that is not in line with the Chinese Government and Communist Party directives.”

Rubio’s workplace declined a gathering that TikTook had requested, a congressional aide stated. Zhu was scheduled to fulfill with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., her workplace advised CNBC. Blackburn wrote Zhu final month that she feared the app, standard with kids, “is paving the way for the Chinese government to gain unfettered and unsupervised access to our children’s lives.”

Despite TikTook’s claims that it doesn’t permit Chinese officers entry to consumer knowledge or censor content material according to the Chinese authorities’s views, current controversies have opened room for doubt. In a class-action swimsuit filed final month, for instance, a California scholar accused the corporate of secretly accumulating knowledge on customers and transferring non-public consumer knowledge to China.

Also final month, head of security at TikTook Eric Han apologized to a 17-year-old consumer in New Jersey after the corporate disabled access to her account and briefly removed one of her viral videos through which she mentioned China’s mistreatment of the Uighur ethnic minority. Critics seized upon the transfer as proof of the app’s censorship on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

Han stated TikTook was reviewing the process that led to the elimination and stated the corporate would create “carve-outs for things like education and satire, as other platforms do.”

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WATCH: TikTok sued in California for accusations of data transfer to China

Correction: An earlier model misstated the day of Hawley’s tweet. It was Monday.

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