Alex Zhu, CEO of TikTok
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TikTok chief Alex Zhu will meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. subsequent week as suspicions across the app’s ties to China proceed to develop, CNBC confirmed. The Washington Post first reported the journey on Thursday.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., will meet with Zhu subsequent week, in keeping with her workplace. Blackburn has been an outspoken critic of the tech business and of TikTok specifically over suspected vulnerability of its expertise to the Chinese authorities. In a letter final month, Blackburn advised Zhu she feared the app, which is common with a youthful viewers and owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, “is paving the way for the Chinese government to gain unfettered and unsupervised access to our children’s lives.”
TikTok is already dealing with important oversight from the U.S. authorities. The Committee on Foreign Investment within the U.S. (CFIUS) has formally launched a nationwide safety overview into ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly, the precursor to TikTok, an individual acquainted with the matter beforehand advised CNBC. The overview adopted urging from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who claimed 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.”
TikTok requested a gathering with Rubio as properly, in keeping with a congressional aide, however his workplace declined.
In an on-air interview final week, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy advised CNBC’s Morgan Brennan the military has “immediately” barred soldiers from using TikTok after a nationwide safety concern was dropped at his consideration earlier this 12 months. McCarthy mentioned Army Cyber Command is aiding in a overview into potential vulnerabilities.
TikTok has rejected the plausibility of the Chinese authorities tapping into the information of its U.S. customers. In an interview with The New York Times printed final month, Zhu mentioned TikTok doesn’t share consumer information with the Chinese authorities or its Chinese dad or mum firm. He added that worldwide TikTok consumer information is saved in Virginia with a backup server in Singapore.
On the query of whether or not TikTok censors content material on its platform to appease Chinese officers, the corporate has insisted it doesn’t. Zhu even advised the Times he would flip down the nation’s chief if requested on to take away content material or hand over information from the app.
But these reassurances haven’t quieted suspicions, particularly after a consumer was locked out of her account last week after posting a video critical of the Chinese regime. At the time, TikTok claimed the consumer was barred from her account on account of earlier terrorism-related posts, which the consumer told the Washington Post in an interview have been a “joke.” TikTok later lifted the ban, saying her account had been caught up in a “scheduled platform-wide enforcement” motion and her vital video eliminated briefly “due to a human moderation error.”
TikTok didn’t instantly present touch upon Zhu’s reported journey to D.C.
-CNBC’s Ylan Mui contributed to this report.