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Cotton defends pressing TikTok CEO on ties to Chinese Communist Party

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) defended his rigorous questioning of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew during a Senate hearing, specifically focusing on potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Appearing on Fox News’s “The Story With Martha MacCallum,” Cotton expressed concerns about the susceptibility of Singapore, Chew’s origin, to Chinese Communist Party influence. Cotton emphasized the need for Chew to clarify TikTok’s activities in the United States and the motivations behind them.

Chew, alongside other social media executives, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing titled “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis.” Cotton probed Chew about any affiliations with the Chinese Communist Party, to which Chew, a Singaporean, firmly asserted that he had no such connections.

TikTok, owned by the China-based ByteDance, has faced bipartisan scrutiny due to its perceived links to the Chinese government. In response to concerns, TikTok introduced Project Texas to segregate U.S. user data from ByteDance. However, a Wall Street Journal report suggested that employees working on Project Texas occasionally received requests to share data with different parts of the company or ByteDance.

Chew faced additional questioning from other lawmakers, including Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, who raised concerns about TikTok’s connections with China. Despite challenges to the accuracy of a report by Cornyn, Chew defended TikTok’s position and refuted claims made in the article during the hearing.

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