TikTok CEO Shou Chew admitted to Congress on Thursday that the social media company shares American user data with its Chinese Communist Party-affiliated parent company.
Employees of ByteDance's Douyin, China's version of the social media app, can currently access American data, Chew said during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. This will remain possible until the completion of Tiktok’s Project Texas, a move by the company to store U.S. data within American borders, according to the CEO.
"Not after Project Texas, this is not allowed," Chew said when asked whether Douyin employees can access Americans' user data. In a separate response, the CEO said TikTok sent user data to China "in the past."
Rep. Schakowsky: "Does TikTok share user information from companies, from parent companies, from affiliates, or send user information overseas?"
TikTok CEO: "In the past, yes." pic.twitter.com/89JF4f5yEJ
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) March 23, 2023
The hearing comes as lawmakers look to ban the social media app, which has around 150 million American users. Republicans have long raised alarm about the app over concerns it shares data with the CCP.
Despite Chew's assurances about Project Texas, Democrat Frank Pallone (N.J.) said that the Communist Chinese government "will still control and have the ability to influence what you do."
"I do not find what you suggested with Project Texas ... will be acceptable to me," Pallone said.
Chew attempted to downplay privacy concerns, saying the project will ensure that "American data" is "stored on American soil, by an American company."
The CCP, meanwhile, said this week it will "firmly oppose" any attempt to sell the company to a U.S. firm, the Wall Street Journal reported.