US lawmakers at a congressional hearing on Thursday accused TikTok of serving dangerous content material and inflicting “psychological distress” on youthful users, grilling the Chinese-owned app’s CEO on the firm’s outsized influence on teenagers.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington, kicked off the hearing with TikTok Main Executive Shou Zi Chew indicating that within just minutes of building an account on TikTok, the written content algorithm encourages self-harm and consuming condition information, and encourages “risky” issues that can put kids’ lives at chance.
Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, mentioned information on TikTok “exacerbated emotions of emotional pressure” in small children.
Chew, in his 1st appearance right before Congress, testified that while the “vast greater part” of TikTok users are above the age of 18, the business has invested in measures to safeguard young persons who use the app.
The hearing will come at a essential minute for TikTok, as the Biden administration is facing escalating tension from lawmakers to ban the application in the region for national protection fears. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company.
Lawmakers quizzed Chew about regardless of whether Americans’ user information could be accessed by the Chinese government as effectively as how it prevented destructive content material from reaching youthful consumers.
Rep. Bob Latta, Republican from Ohio, spoke for the duration of the listening to of a 10-yr-outdated lady who suffocated herself doing a so-known as “blackout obstacle” from video clips posted on the app. Latta explained TikTok should not be protected by Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a regulation that commonly presents on-line platforms immunity for information created by customers.
Chew later explained in the course of the hearing that material this sort of as unsafe difficulties were being prohibited from TikTok.
TikTok has rolled out far more parental control resources just lately, and previously this month reported it was in the early phases of establishing a aspect that would let mother and father to block their teenagers from observing videos that comprise certain phrases or hashtags.
© Thomson Reuters 2023