This Thursday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m. ET, TikTok CEO Shou Chew will give testimony at a meeting before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Chew is in charge of running TikTok’s company and making smart choices.

On the website of the Energy and Commerce Committee, a live broadcast of the meeting titled “TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms” will be available.

The meeting will center on TikTok’s claimed dedication to transparency, adolescent safety, customer privacy, and data security, according to written testimony provided by Chew.

It also seems to address misunderstandings about the platform, such as the idea that ByteDance, the platform’s main business, has ties to the Chinese government.

Chew sent a special message to TikTok yesterday from Washington, D.C., in which he expressed gratitude to the 150 million users, 5 million companies, and 7,000 American workers who have contributed to the growth of the TikTok community.

Related: TikTok Now Has Over 150 Million Users In The United States

More than 85k users have commented on the video, many of whom praise TikTok for enabling them to connect with people globally and discover unbiased news, fresh viewpoints, educational content, motivation, and pleasure.

TikTok updates its rules and expands its selection of educational materials.
In order to avoid a complete U.S. ban on the platform, TikTok has been making major changes to its platform before this meeting to resolve many of these issues.

Chew Shou Zi, Chief Financial Officer and President, International, Xiaomi, People’s Republic of China speaking in the Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January. Congress Centre – xChange. Copyright by World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary speaking in the Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January. Congress Centre – xChange. Copyright by World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

An summary of some of TikTok’s initiatives to improve its reputation prior to the meeting can be found below.

revised Community rules – To show dedication to maintaining the platform’s safety and inclusivity for all users, TikTok revised its community rules and revealed its Community Principles.

TikTok’s For You Feed Refresh suggests content to users based on how they interact with producers and content. Users can now update the For You Page on TikTok to get new suggestions as if they had created a new account if they believe that the suggested content no longer matches their interests.

Related: Marketers Are Concerned About The Newest Threat Of TikTok Tans

TikTok will launch a STEM feed for content centered on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to enhance the standard of instructional content on the platform. TikTok claims that Common Sense Networks and Poynter will evaluate STEM stream content to make sure it is appropriate for younger audiences and scientifically correct, in contrast to the material that shows when users search the #STEM hashtag.

This might make it more akin to Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, which prioritizes instructional over entertaining material for younger viewers.

TikTok has launched a new monetization program for series content in an effort to motivate producers to produce in-depth, educational content. Creators of series can make money by placing up to 80 videos, each up to 20 minutes long, behind a barrier.

Additional Congressional Attempts To Limit TikTok
The meeting on TikTok scheduled for tomorrow is not the only attempt by Congress to restrict or outright prohibit apps like TikTok.

The RESTRICT Act (Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology), which was introduced earlier this month by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), would establish a formal procedure for the government to review and reduce risks associated with technology coming from nations like China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.

Regarding the meeting tomorrow, Warner issued the following comment.

“While I respect Mr. Chew’s desire to speak before Congress, the trustworthiness of any comments made by TikTok workers, including Mr. Chew, has been badly damaged by the company’s lack of openness, repeated obfuscations, and factual errors. Congress must provide the administration with the instruments it needs to assess and lessen the risks that foreign technology goods from rival countries offer. I’m happy to report that the RESTRICT Act, our bipartisan proposal to do just that, has already received the support of 20 senators.

Congress should look beyond TikTok and look into similar dangers to national security and younger audiences presented by other Big Tech platforms like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Meta, according to organizations like the Tech Oversight Project.

We’ll be paying careful attention to tomorrow’s meeting, so make sure to check back for our coverage so we can assess how it will impact users and forecast what will come next.


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