June 2, 2023

US lawmakers at a congressional listening to on Thursday accused TikTok of serving dangerous content material and inflicting “emotional misery” on younger customers, grilling the Chinese language-owned app’s CEO on the corporate’s outsized affect on teenagers.

Consultant Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington, kicked off the listening to with TikTok Chief Govt Shou Zi Chew saying that inside minutes of making an account on TikTok, the content material algorithm promotes self-harm and consuming dysfunction content material, and encourages “harmful” challenges that may put children’ lives in danger.

Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, mentioned content material on TikTok “exacerbated emotions of emotional stress” in kids.

Chew, in his first look earlier than Congress, testified that whereas the “overwhelming majority” of TikTok customers are over the age of 18, the corporate has invested in measures to guard younger individuals who use the app.

The listening to comes at an important second for TikTok, because the Biden administration is going through rising stress from lawmakers to ban the app within the nation for nationwide safety considerations. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese language tech firm.

Lawmakers quizzed Chew about whether or not Individuals’ consumer knowledge could possibly be accessed by the Chinese language authorities in addition to the way it prevented dangerous content material from reaching younger customers.

Rep. Bob Latta, Republican from Ohio, spoke throughout the listening to of a 10-year-old lady who suffocated herself doing a so-called “blackout problem” from movies posted on the app. Latta mentioned TikTok shouldn’t be protected by Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, a regulation that usually provides on-line platforms immunity for content material generated by customers.

Chew later mentioned throughout the listening to that content material corresponding to harmful challenges had been prohibited from TikTok.

TikTok has rolled out extra parental management instruments lately, and earlier this month mentioned it was within the early phases of growing a function that will let mother and father to dam their teenagers from seeing movies that comprise sure phrases or hashtags.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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