Cotton defends pressing TikTok CEO on ties to Chinese Communist Party

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) defended pressing TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party at a Senate hearing Wednesday.

“Singapore, unfortunately, is one of the places in the world that has the highest degree of infiltration and influence by the Chinese Communist Party,” Cotton said on Fox News’s “The Story With Martha MacCallum” Wednesday. “So, Mr. Chew has a lot to answer for, for what his app is doing in America and why it’s doing it.”

Chew, alongside other social media heads Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, X CEO Linda Yaccarino, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and Discord CEO Jason Citron, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing titled “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis” Wednesday.

At one point during the hearing, Cotton asked Chew if he has “ever been a member of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“Senator, I’m Singaporean, no,” Chew said.

“Have you ever been associated with or affiliated with the Chinese Community Party?” Cotton asked.

“No, senator, again, I’m Singaporean,” Chew said.

TikTok has faced scrutiny from both sides of the aisle for its China-based parent company ByteDance and its links to the Chinese government. In an attempt to calm fears from lawmakers about these links, the platform developed Project Texas to wall off U.S. user data from the parent company. Yet, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that people who work on Project Texas have occasionally faced requests to share data with different portions of the company or ByteDance.

Chew also faced pressure from other lawmakers like Republican Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz during the hearing over the company’s connections with China. Cornyn pushed Chew on the report, but the CEO challenged it and said “there are many things about the article that are inaccurate.”  

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