A TikTok executive has claimed motives to ban the Chinese-controlled platform stem from xenophobia and fear.
In the wake of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifying before Congress on Thursday about a potential ban, the company’s chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas wrote on Twitter the hearing felt “rooted in xenophobia.”
“We’re committed to providing a safe, secure platform, that fosters an inclusive place for our amazing, diverse communities to call home. It’s a shame today’s conversation felt rooted in xenophobia,” Pappas wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to our employees who work tirelessly to protect our platform & community.”
Pappas had shared a communications thread from the TikTok Comms official Twitter account that characterized the hearing as the work of “political grandstanding.”
“Our CEO came prepared to answer questions from Congress, but unfortunately, the day was dominated by political grandstanding that failed to acknowledge real solutions already underway through Project Texas or address industry-wide issues of youth safety,” it said.
“Also not mentioned today by members of the Committee: the livelihoods of the 5 million businesses on TikTok or the First Amendment implications of banning a platform loved by 150 million Americans,” it added.
2/ Also not mentioned today by members of the @HouseCommerce Committee: the livelihoods of the 5 million businesses on TikTok or the First Amendment implications of banning a platform loved by 150 million Americans.
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) March 23, 2023
As Breitbart News reported throughout the day, Lawmakers delivered a series of questions to Shou Zi Chew regarding the platform’s data collection and its relationship with the Chinese government.
In one eye-opening moment, Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) grilled the CEO on whether the company has been used to spy on Americans and he circled around the answer.
“Has ByteDance (TikTok parent company) spied on Americans at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party?” Dunn asked.
“No,” responded Chew.
When Dunn presented a Forbes article that showed how ByteDance “planned to use TikTok to monitor the physical location of Americans,” the CEO refused to call it spying.
“I don’t think that ‘spying’ is the right way to describe it,” Chew said. “This is ultimately an internal investigation.”
Watch: Tiktok CEO — “Spying” Not Right Word for Surveillance of Americans on Behalf of Chinese Communists
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Earlier this week, New York Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman also said the move to ban TikTok stems from xenophobia.
“There are many apps on our phones right now that are Chinese apps. And so the idea that, ‘Oh, TikTok is the boogeyman’ — it’s just part of a political fearmongering that’s happening,” added Bowman.
The congressman compared the warnings about TikTok to Republican “fearmongering” about the open border and even said the ban stemmed from a “xenophobia around China.”