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TikTok CEO Testifies On Capitol Hill. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 23, 2023 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Eleni Giokos live from Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson.

TikTok CEO addresses U.S. lawmakers.

A Ukrainian commander warns of a new offensive in Bakhmut.

More protests erupt in Israel.

And later, Ronaldo set to break another record.


GIOKOS: It is judgment day for TikTok on Capitol Hill, the app CEO is in the hot seat, set to testify. A growing number of U.S. lawmakers raise

national security concerns about TikTok's ties to China.

Just last week a sale or ban decree was announced by the by the Biden White House which fears TikTok could be used as a secret disinformation tool by

Beijing. Vanessa Yurkevich is in New York and Marc Stewart is standing by in Tokyo.

Vanessa, this is going to be an important test, so many questions about transparency, where users' data goes.

What are we expecting in terms of the line of questioning and whether we will get the answers?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: And this is the opportunity for TikTok CEO Shou Chew to try to convince U.S. lawmakers

that the Chinese government has no influence over TikTok. That is going to be an uphill battle for him because many lawmakers that you see right there

on your screen, they have their minds made up already.

Many of them are supporting legislation that would severely restrict TikTok. Many of them are supporting a total ban of TikTok in the U.S. And

this really stems around security concerns, national security concerns that these lawmakers have.

This is because TikTok is owned by ByteDance; that is a Chinese founded company and a lot of these lawmakers are asking questions.

How much influence does the Chinese government have on TikTok?

Could they collect U.S. user data, what would they do that, could they spy on Americans?

Now here in the U.S., TikTok is already banned on federal devices and about half the states in the U.S. have banned it on state owned devices.

TikTok for their part, has said that, as of June 2022, they have moved all U.S. privacy data onto U.S. servers. But there was an incident last year in

December where several ByteDance employees as part of an internal audit was able to get access to U.S. journalists' data who were covering TikTok.


GIOKOS: -- to hear the opening statements. Let's listen in.

REP. CATHY RODGERS (R-WA): -- human rights and innovation. TikTok has repeatedly chosen a path for more control, more surveillance and more

manipulation. Your platform should be banned.

I expect today you will say anything to avoid this outcome like you are 100 percent responsible for what TikTok does, that you suddenly endorse a

national data privacy standard. That project. Texas is more than a marketing scheme that TikTok does not harm our innocent children or that

your ties to the Chinese Communist Party through ByteDance is just a myth. We aren't buying it.

In fact, when you celebrate the 150 million American users on TikTok, it emphasizes the urgency for Congress to act. That is 150 million Americans

that CCP can collect sensitive information on and control what we ultimately see, hear and believe.

TikTok has repeatedly been caught in a lie that it does not answer to the CCP through ByteDance.

Today, the CCP's laws require Chinese companies like ByteDance to spy on their behalf. That means any Chinese company must grant CCP access and

manipulation capabilities as a design feature.

Right now ByteDance is under investigation by the DOJ for surveilling American journalists, both digital activity and physical movements through



We also know that many of your employees still report directly to Beijing. Internal recordings reveal there is a back door for China to access user

data across the platform.

Your employees said, quote, "everything is seen in China."

A gateway to spy is not the only way TikTok and ByteDance can do the bidding of the CCP. TikTok has helped you erase events and people China

wants the world to forget. It's even censored an American teenager who exposed CCP's genocide and torture of Uyghur Muslims.

The facts show that ByteDance is beholden to the CCP and ByteDance and TikTok are one and the same. TikTok also targets our children. The 4U

algorithm is a tool for TikTok to own their attention and prey on their innocence.

Within minutes of creating an account, your algorithm can promote suicide, self-harm and eating disorders to children. It encourages challenges for

them to put their lives in danger and allows adults to prey on our beautiful beloved daughters.

It's also a portal for drug dealers to sell a you as a (ph) fentanyl that China has banned yet is helping Mexican cartels produce, send across our

border and poison our children.

In China, the CCP proactively prohibits this type of TikTok content that promotes death and despair to kids. From the data it collects to the

content it controls, TikTok is a grave threat of foreign influence in American life.

It's been said it's like allowing the Soviet Union the power to produce Saturday morning cartoons during the Cold War but much more powerful and

much more dangerous. Banning your platform will address the immediate threats.

Make no mistake, this committee is also looking to the future. America needs to be prepared to stop the next technological tool or weapon China

will use for its own strategic gain. We must prevent any app, website and platform like TikTok from ever spying on Americans again.

And we must provide the strongest protections possible for our children. That is why this committee is leading on a national privacy and data

security standard. It restricts sensitive American data from reaching our adversaries to begin with.

And what Big Tech and data brokers collect, process, store and sell. It makes it illegal for any platform to track and target children under 17.

Mr. Chair, the committee has requested that TikTok appear before us for a long time. For those we serve, we are glad the day is finally come. Today

the world is watching. ByteDance is watching.

The Chinese Communist Party is watching but the answers you owe are to the American people, a free people who cherish their God given unalienable

rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

They deserve the truth. Complete honesty is the standard and the law you are being held to before this committee as we seek to get answers and a

full understanding of what happens at TikTok under your watch.

Thank you.

The chair now recognizes the ranking member, Mr. Pallone, for five minutes.

REP. FRANK PALLONE (D-NJ): Thank you, Madam Chair. And let me say that I agree with much of what you just said and I certainly appreciate your

enthusiasm and your commenting on being a mother and concerned about children.

And I am glad that we are having this hearing today. Big Tech has transformed the information superhighway into a super spreader of harmful

content, invasive surveillance practices and addictive and damaging design features.

Data is Big Tech's most valuable commodity and by collecting far more user data than they need, Big Tech platforms can use, share and sell information

to generate billions of dollars in revenue.

Today the American people are powerless to stop this invasion of their privacy and we cannot wait any longer to pass comprehensive national

privacy legislation that puts people back in control of their data.

We must hold Big Tech accountable for its actions. And transparency is critical to that accountability. In the past several congresses, this

committee has heard from senior executives of other social media platforms about troubling and repeated instances where they put profits over people.

Now today, we intend to bring more transparency to TikTok which is controlled by its Beijing Communist based parent company, ByteDance.


And while TikTok videos provide a new, fun way for people to express their creativity and enjoy the videos of others, the platform also threatens the

health, privacy and security of the American people. And I am not convinced that the benefits outweigh the risk that it poses to Americans in its

present form.

More than 130 million people in the United States use TikTok every month, including two-thirds of American teenagers.

TikTok collects and compiles vast troves of valuable personal information to create an addictive algorithm that is able to predict with uncanny

accuracy which videos will keep users scrolling, even if the content is harmful, inaccurate or feeds destructive behavior or extremist beliefs.

The combination of TikTok's Beijing Communist-based China ownership and its popularity exacerbates its danger to our country and to our privacy. The

Chinese Communist government can compel companies based in Beijing like TikTok to share data with the Communist government through existing Beijing

law or coercion.

National security experts are sounding the alarm, warning that the Chinese Communist government could require TikTok to compromise device security,

maliciously access to American user data, promote pro-Communist propaganda and undermine American interests.

Disinformation campaigns could be launched by the Chinese Communist government through TikTok, which has already become rife with

misinformation and disinformation, illegal activities and hate speech.

A recent report found that 20 percent of TikTok's search results on prominent news topics contain misinformation. Social media's profitability

depends on growth and engagement; more eyes on their content for longer time leads to more advertising dollars and revenue generation.

Addictive algorithms are fine-tuned to optimize growth and engagement without necessarily taking into account potential harms to users. Children

and teens are particularly vulnerable. Frequent online use of interactive media on digital devices is associated with increased levels of depression

among middle and high school students.

Research has found that TikTok's addictive algorithms recommend videos to teens that create and exacerbate feelings of emotional distress, including

videos promoting suicide, self-harm and eating disorders.

Public outrage and hollow apologies alone are not going to rein in Big Tech. Congress has to enact laws protecting the American public from such

online harms.

And we simply cannot wait any longer to pass the comprehensive privacy legislation that I authored with then ranking member, now Chair Rodgers,

last Congress that overwhelmingly advanced out of the committee.

It ensures that companies, wherever they live -- it ensures, I should say, that consumers wherever they live in this country will have meaningful

control over their personal information.

Our legislation establishes baseline data minimization requirements, ensuring that companies only collect, process and transfer data necessary

to provide a service. And it provides heightened privacy protections for children and teenagers.

So I think it is time to make this legislation the law of the land. And we also have to examine the reforms needed to Section 230 of the

Communications Decency Act. The liability shield for social media platforms has, for too long, been abused and led to a lack of accountability for

social media platforms.

So I hope we can find a bipartisan path forward on that issue, too. And I think you are having a hearing next week on it. So we can stop the very

real harms to our country and democracy under the current law.

I look forward to the discussion today as we continue to bring accountability to Big Tech.

And let me say to Mr. Chew, I know this is about TikTok but I am focusing all my attention not only on TikTok but on these concerns, wide concerns

about social media and the protection of privacy.

With that, I yield back. Thank you, again, Madam Chair, for having this very important hearing.

RODGERS: Our witness today is Mr. Shou Chew, chief executive officer of TikTok.

You're recognized for five minutes.

SHOU CHEW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TIKTOK: Thank you Chair Rodgers, Ranking Member Pallone, members of the committee, thank you for your time.

I am Shou Chew and I'm from Singapore. That is where I was born as were my parents. And after serving in Singapore's military, I moved to the U.K. to

attend college and at here in the U.S. to attend business school. I actually met my wife here. By the way, she was just born a few miles away

from here in Virginia. Two years ago,

I became the CEO of TikTok. Today we have more than a billion monthly active users around the world, including over 150 million in the United

States. Our app is a place where people can be creative and curious. And where close to 5 million American businesses, mostly small businesses, go

to find new customers and to fuel their growth.


Now as TikTok has grown, we've tried to learn the lessons of companies that have come before us, especially when it comes to the safety of teenagers.

While the vast majority of people on TikTok are over 18, one of the -- and one of our fastest growing demographics are people over 35 -- we spent a

lot of time adopting measures to protect teenagers.

Many of those measures are firsts for the social media industry. We forbid direct messaging for people under 16 and we have a 60 minute watch time by

default for those under 18.

We have a suite of family pairing tools so that parents can participate in their teens' experience and make the choices that are right for their

family. We want TikTok to be a place where teenagers can come to learn, which is why we recently launched a feed that exclusively features

educational videos about STEM.

STEM videos already have over 116 billion views on TikTok. And I think TikTok is inspiring a new generation to discover a passion for math and


I would also like to talk about national security concerns that you have raised that we take very, very seriously. Let me start by addressing a few

misconceptions about ByteDance of which we are a subsidiary.

ByteDance is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government. It's a private company; 60 percent of the company is owned by global institutional

investors; 20 percent is owned by the founder and 20 percent owned by employees around the world.

ByteDance has five board members; three of them are American. Now TikTok itself is not available in Mainland China. We're headquartered in Los

Angeles and in Singapore and we have 7,000 employees in the U.S. today. Still we have heard important concerns about the potential for unwanted

foreign access to U.S. data and potential manipulation of the TikTok U.S. ecosystem.

Our approach has never been to dismiss or trivialize any of these concerns. We have addressed them with real action. Now that's what we've been doing

for the last two years, building what amounts to a firewall that seals off protected U.S. user data from unauthorized foreign access.

The bottom line is this: American data stored on American soil by an American company overseen by American personnel; we call this initiative

project Texas. That's where Oracle is headquartered.

Today U.S. TikTok data is stored by default in Oracle's service. Only vetted personnel operating in a new company called TikTok U.S. Data

Security can control access to this data.

Additionally we have plans for this company to report to an independent American board with strong security credentials.

Now there's still some work to do. We have legacy U.S. data sitting in our servers in Virginia and in Singapore. We're deleting those and we expect

that to be complete this year. When that is done, all protected U.S. data will be under the protection of U.S. law and under the control of the U.S.

led security team.

This eliminates the concern that some of you have shared with me, that TikTok user data can be subject to Chinese law. This goes further, by the

way, than what any other company in our industry have done.

We also provide unprecedented transparency and security for the source code for the TikTok app and recommendation engine. Third party validators like

Oracle and others will review and validate our source code and algorithms.

This will help ensure the integrity of the code that powers what Americans see on our app. We will further provide access to researchers, which helps

them study and monitor our content ecosystem.

Now we believe we are the only -- the only company that offers this level of transparency. Now trust is about actions we take. We have to earn their

trust with decisions we make for our company and our products.

The potential security, privacy, content manipulation concerns raised about TikTok are really not unique to us. The same issues to apply to other

companies. We believe what's needed are clear, transparent rules that apply broadly to all tech companies.

Ownership is not at the core of addressing these concerns. Now as I conclude, there are more than 150 million Americans who love our platform.

And we know we have a responsibility to protect them, which is why I'm making the following commitments to you and to all our users.

Number one, we will keep safety, particularly for teenagers, as a top priority for us.

Number two, we will firewall protected U.S. data from unwanted foreign access.


Number three, TikTok will remain a place for free expression and will not be manipulated by any government.

And fourth, we will be transparent and we will give access to third party independent monitors to remain accountable for commitments.

I'll be grateful for any feedback that you have. And I look forward to your questions. Thank you very much.

RODGERS: As you know the testimony that you're about to give is subject to Title 18, Section 1001 of the United States Code. As you state in your

testimony, ByteDance is TikTok's parent company.

Is it accurate to say that you are in regular communication with the CEO of ByteDance, Liang Rubo?

SHOU: Chair Rodgers, yes. I am in --


RODGERS: Thank you.

SHOU: -- litigation with them.


Kelly Zhang is the CEO of ByteDance China, overseeing Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

Are you in regular communication with Kelly?

SHOU: I'm not in regular communication with her.

RODGERS: The ByteDance editor in chief is Zhang Fuping, correct?

SHOU: I believe so.

RODGERS: And Wu Shugang is Beijing ByteDance technology board member and also an official of the cyberspace administration in China.

Is this correct?

SHOU: I believe so. I -- they are not in the right --

RODGERS: Thank you. All of these individuals work or affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party are in at the highest levels of leadership at

ByteDance, a company where you previously served as the chief financial officer and where you regularly communicate with their CEO.

TikTok has told us that you weren't sharing data with the CCP. But leaked audio from within TikTok has proven otherwise. TikTok told us that you

weren't tracking the geolocation of American citizens. You were. TikTok told us you weren't spying on journalists. You were.

In your testimony, you state that ByteDance is not beholden to the CCP. Again, each of the individuals I listed are affiliated with the Chinese

Communist Party, including Zhang Fuping, who was reported to be the Communist Party secretary of ByteDance and who has called for the party

committee to, quote, "take the lead across all party lines" to ensure that algorithm is enforced by, quote, "correct political direction."

Just this morning, "The Wall Street Journal" reported that the CCP is opposed to a forced sale of TikTok by ByteDance, quoting a CCP spokesman as

saying the Chinese government would make a decision regarding any sale of TikTok.

So the CCP believes they have the final say over your company. I have zero confidence in your assertion that ByteDance and TikTok are not beholden to

the CCP.

Next question, heating content is a way of promoting and moderating content in your current or previous positions within Chinese companies.

Have employees engaged in heating content for users outside of China?

Very quickly, yes or no?

SHOU: Our heating process is approved by our local teams in the various countries.

RODGERS: The answer is yes. Thank you.

Have any moderation tools being used to remove content on TikTok associated with the Uyghur genocide?

Yes or no?

SHOU: We do not remove that kind of content. TikTok is a place for freedom of expression and carriages (ph) like I said. If you use our app, you can

go on it and you will see a lot of users around the world --

RODGERS: Thank you.

SHOU: -- expressing content --

RODGERS: -- thank you.

SHOU: -- on that topic and many others.

RODGERS: Thank you.

What about the massacre in Tiananmen Square?

Yes or no?

SHOU: I'm sorry, I'm I didn't hear the question.

RODGERS: The massacre in Tiananmen Square.

SHOU: That kind of content is available on our platform. You can go and search it.

RODGERS: I will remind you that making false or misleading statements to Congress is a federal crime.

SHOU: I understand. Again --


SHOU: -- you can go on our platform. You will find that content.

RODGERS: OK. Thank you. Reclaiming my time.


Can you say with 100 percent certainty that neither ByteDance nor TikTok employees can target other Americans with similar surveillance techniques

as you did with the journalists?

SHOU: Again, I don't disagree with the characterization of surveillance. And we've given our commitments, Chair Rodgers. The fourth commitments, I

think I saw a commitment that we will not be influenced by any government on these issues.

RODGERS: The DOJ is investigating this surveillance right now.

To the American people watching today, hear this, TikTok is a weapon by the Chinese Communist Party to spy on you, manipulate what you see and exploit

for future generations.

A ban is only a short term way to address TikTok and a data privacy bill is the only way to stop TikTok from ever happening again in the United States.

I yield back.

I now yield to the ranking member for five minutes.

PALLONE: Thank you, Madam Chair. Let me just start out by saying, Mr. Chew, that I don't find what you suggested with project Texas and this

firewall. That's being suggested to whoever -- will be will be acceptable to me.

In other words, you know the -- I still believe that the Beijing Communist government will still control and have the ability to influence what you

do. And so this idea of this project Texas is simply not acceptable.

According to a recent report, TikTok is on target to make between $15 billion and $18 billion in revenue this year.

Is that an accurate forecast?

SHOU: Congressman, as a private company, we are not sharing our --


PALLONE: How much money will TikTok make by delivering personalized advertisements just to your users in the United States?

Will you give me that information?

SHOU: Again, Congressman, respectfully --


PALLONE: -- not disclosing that.

Look, my -- the impression you're giving -- and I know, I can understand why you're trying to give that impression -- is that, you know, that you're

just performing some kind of public service here, right?

I mean, this is a benign company that's just performing a public service. I -- maybe you're not. Maybe that's not what you're saying. But I don't buy

it, right. My concern here is primarily about the privacy issue.

The fact that TikTok is making all kinds of money by gathering private information about Americans that they don't need for their business

purposes and then they sell it. And I mentioned this legislation, that the -- that the chair and I have that would minimize data collection and make

it much more difficult for TikTok and other companies to do that.

So what -- if you want to make some commitments today, one of the -- I'll ask you to make some commitments with regard to this legislation. And you

know, you're going to tell me, well, the bill isn't passed and so therefore I don't have to do it.

But you know, you say you're benign. You want to do good things for the public. So let me ask you, why not?

What about a commitment that says that you won't sell the data that you collect?

Would you commit to that?

Not selling the data you collect?

SHOU: Congressman, I believe we don't sell data at -- to any data brokers --

PALLONE: You don't sell to anyone?

SHOU: We don't sell data to data brokers.

PALLONE: I didn't ask you data brokers.

Do you sell it to anyone?

In other words, I -- under our bill, you can only use the data for your own purposes, not to sell it to anyone.

Would you commit to not selling your data?


SHOU: Congressman, I actually am in support of some rules.

PALLONE: I didn't ask you whether -- I asked you whether the company, TikTok, would commit to not selling its data to anyone and just using it

for its own purposes internally.

SHOU: I can get back to you on the details.


PALLONE: Get back to me, all right.

Another thing that's in our bill says that we would prohibit targeting marketing to people under the age of 17.

Would you be willing to agree to prohibit targeted marketing to people, Americans under the age of 17?

SHOU: Congressman, we have actually stricter rules for advertisers in terms of what they can show to our --

PALLONE: So do you prohibit target -- would you be willing to prohibit targeted marketing to those under 17?

That's what's in our bill.

SHOU: I understand that there's some talk and some legislation around this, around the country --

PALLONE: Again, I'm not -- I'm wanting you to make that commitment without the legislation. Since you say you're a good company, you want to do good


Why not?

SHOU: It's something that we can we can look into and get back.

PALLONE: OK, I appreciate that.

OK, we also have in our bill a requirement of heightened protection for sensitive data, particularly location and health data.

Would you commit to not gathering or dealing with location or health data unless you get affirmative consent from the consumer?

In other words, under our bill, those are categorized as sensitive.


And unless the person specifically says I want you to collect that data, you wouldn't be able to, location and health data.

Would you commit to that?

SHOU: Congressman, in principle I support that, which, by the way, we do not collect precise GPS data at this point. And I do not believe we collect

any health data.

PALLONE: All right, so would you be willing to make that commitment, that, from now on, you won't collect location and health data without, what

you're saying, at all?


PALLONE: -- commitment?

SHOU: This is data that's frequently collected by many other companies, you know.

PALLONE: I know other companies do it. I don't think they should without affirmative consent. You said you want to be a good actor.

So why not make that commitment to me today?

SHOU: We are committed to be very transparent of our users about what we collect. I don't think what we collect -- I don't believe what we collect

this morning.


SHOU: -- mostly --

PALLONE: The problem here is you're trying to give the impression that you're going to move away from Beijing and the Communist Party. You're

trying to give the impression that you're a good actor. But the commitments that we would seek to achieve those goals are not being made today. They're

just not being made.

You're going to continue to gather data. You're going to continue to sell data. You're going to continue to do all these things and continue to be

under the ages of the Communist Party through the -- through your, you know, organization that owns you. So in any case, thank you.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

RODGERS: Gentleman yields back. Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. burgess, for five minutes.

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX): I thank the chair.

Thank you, Mr. Shou, for joining us today. I think we heard you TikTok is not a Chinese company, that ByteDance is not a Chinese company. But

according to an article in today's "Wall Street Journal" quoting here, "China's commerce ministry said Thursday that a sale or divestiture of

TikTok will involve exporting technology that has to be approved by the Chinese government."

Continuing with the quote, "'The reported efforts by the Biden administration would severely undermine global investors' confidence in

the U.S.,' said a ministry spokeswoman."

Continue to quote, "'If that is true, China will firmly oppose it,' she said referring to the forced sale."

So despite your assertions to the contrary, China certainly thinks it is in control of TikTok and its software.

Is that not correct?

SHOU: Congressman, that -- TikTok is not available in mainland China and today we are headquartered in Los Angeles and Singapore. But I am not

saying that you know, ByteDance are not Chinese nor am I saying that we do not make use of Chinese employees, just like many other companies around

the world.

We do, you know, use their expertise on some engineering projects --


BURGESS: But according to the ministry spokeswoman, it would be divestiture of exporting technology from China. So they -- again, China

thinks they own it, even though you do not.

Madam Chair, I'd just like to ask consent to put today's "Wall Street Journal" --


RODGERS: Without objection, so ordered.

BURGESS: -- into the record.

Mr. Shou, I wouldn't ask you to discuss any privileged attorney-client materials.

But did anyone aside from your lawyers assist you in preparation for today's hearing?

SHOU: I prepared for this hearing of my team here in D.C.

BURGESS: Did anyone at ByteDance directly provide input, help or instruction for your testimony today?

SHOU: Congressman, this is a very high-profile hearing. My phone is full of well wishes. It has (ph) you know, but I prepared for this hearing with

my team here in D.C.

BURGESS: Are you willing to share who helped prepare you for this hearing with the committee and --


SHOU: -- follow up with you.


SHOU: -- like --

BURGESS: Can you guarantee that no one at ByteDance had a role in preparing you for today's hearing?

SHOU: Like I said, Congressman, this is a high-profile hearing. A lot of people around the world who are sending me wishes and unsolicited advice.

But I prepared for this hearing with my team here in D.C.

BURGESS: Are the attorneys representing TikTok also representing ByteDance?

SHOU: Yes, I believe so.

BURGESS: What percentage of TikTok revenue does ByteDance retain?

Just give me a ballpark estimate if you do not precisely know.

SHOU: Congressman, like I said, as a private company we are not prepared to disclose our financials in public today.

BURGESS: Can we ask you to get back to us with a ballpark, without asking for the precise figures?

But to get -- so the committee can have some understanding of the percentage of TikTok revenue that ByteDance retains.

SHOU: I understand the question and respectfully I -- as a private company, are not disclosing our financials today.

BURGESS: Prior to today's hearing, did anyone affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party discuss this hearing with you or anyone else on TikTok

senior management?

SHOU: Congressman, since I have been CEO of this company, I have not had any discussions with Chinese government officials.



BURGESS: So what -- but what about Chinese Communist Party itself?

Have any of those officials discussed this with you?

SHOU: Like I said, I have not had any discussion with Chinese government officials. I do not know the political affiliation of everybody I speak to

so I can't verify the statement.

BURGESS: Let me ask you a question in a different direction. A few weeks ago, this committee had a field hearing down in McAllen, Texas, and it was

on the issue of fentanyl and illegal immigration.

And one of our witnesses, Brandon Judd, a 25 year veteran Border Patrol agent, said that all social media platforms play a role in illegal

immigration. That is one of the ways cartels advertise their services throughout the world and convince people to put themselves in their hands

and come to the United States.

The cartels all use social media platforms.

Are you aware of this phenomenon?

SHOU: Any content that that promotes human abuse is a violate (INAUDIBLE) of our community guidelines, which dictates what is allowed and not allowed

on our platform. We proactively identify and remove them from our platform.

BURGESS: It would very helpful if you would share with the committee examples of how you have removed people. Because what we heard at the

hearing was that TikTok was one of the platforms that recruits adolescents in the United States.

They help with transporting people who in the -- who've trafficked -- who've been trafficked into the country, as well as contraband substances.

Would you help us with that, understanding who you have removed your platform?

SHOU: Congressman, I will be delighted to check on my team and get back to yours and be collaborative.

BURGESS: Thank you.

I yield back.

RODGERS: The gentleman's time is expired. The chair recognizes the lady from California, Ms. Eshoo, for five minutes.

REP. ANNA ESHOO (D-CA): Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.

Mr. Shou, thank you for being here today.

As members of Congress, our very first and top responsibility --

GIOKOS: All right. You're seeing live testimony coming through from Shou Chew, the CEO of TikTok in the U.S.

Answering grilling and very tough questions on the state of privacy, U.S. data, whether the Chinese Communist Party have access to the data, whether

there are firewalls in place.

Really interesting and gives you a snapshot of the anxiety that exists within lawmakers, what they are thinking about and their major concerns

about 150 million Americans having access to this platform.

I want to bring in Vanessa Yurkevich in New York. We've also got Marc Stewart standing by in Tokyo.

This testimony starting out with some really tough questions coming through from House Republican Kathy Rodgers. We also heard from House Democrat

Frank Pallone.

And as I said, Vanessa, really just fascinating to hear some of their concerns. And they really are far ranging right from what we see on the

data front but also in terms of their financials. What kind of access Shou Chew has to the ByteDance CEO and what this means in terms of ownership for

the company and how that translates into how perhaps government has access to data.

I want to give me a sense of what is standing out for you here and how you think this is actually going.

YURKEVICH: Yes, the committee is not pulling any punches. Before you had Shou Chew speaking, Chairman (sic) Rodgers saying that the platform should

be banned. TikTok is a weapon. She said we are not buying it and he didn't even give his testimony yet.

Shou Chew is really up against a lot of firepower from this committee. He tried to talk about how he had ties to the U.S., going to school in the

U.S.; tried to talk about on his wife being born in the United States, tried to talk about how there are 5 million small businesses that benefit

from TikTok.

But the conversation very quickly went back to national security. He said that they are not owned by the Chinese government, that they have firewall

protections in place. But you're just seeing this play out right now, as the committee is not satisfied with his answers.

They keep going back to this key issue of national security and the fact that they believe that the Chinese government has some hand in TikTok. Now

as I mentioned earlier we have banned here in the U.S. TikTok on federal devices, on some state owned devices.

But it is really about those 150 million Americans who are using TikTok.

Is their data protected?

Can the Chinese government spy on Americans?

And the committee right now basically brushing all of his testimony aside.


Saying we do not believe you essentially, please prove further, that this is not happening. They do not seem to be very satisfied with his answers.

Even though he is trying to make that commitment to the committee that, in fact, China has no control over TikTok.

GIOKOS: It has been really fascinating to also hear some of the nos from him and saying I'll get back to you on some of those questions.

We have Marc Stewart standing by for us as well.

Something that was mentioned is the sale or ban question and that the Chinese government has laws in place that protect algorithm paters (ph),

that they would have to get permission from the Chinese government.

That being positioned as sort of evidence that the Chinese government has some kind of jurisdiction or some kind of control over ByteDance de facto

over TikTok.

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When we talk about Big Tech companies such as Facebook, such as Twitter, such as Instagram and such as

TikTok, the reason why they have value is their ability to get some insight as to what we may be thinking, what we are interested in, what we may want

to buy, otherwise known as algorithms and analytics.

It has a lot of value for these private companies but governments also realize that there is value behind these data collection points. And as we

have seen in recent months, the Chinese government in particular has made efforts to try to restrict that sale of that technology to foreign


So despite what the CEO of TikTok may want to do and despite perhaps these different plans or solutions proposed by the U.S. government, the Chinese

government could perhaps exert some muscle and put a stop to all of this.

It's just a possibility. I also think it is important to point out that, even before the hearing began, just days ago, we did hear from a

spokesperson in Beijing, talking about all of this discussion about TikTok.

And this person said that the United States government is basically using this idea of national security to hobble and plunder foreign companies in

the United States. what we hear about tension between the U.S. and China, yes, it is about economics, about politics.

But all of these technological discussions are a big part of that broader umbrella.

Marc Stewart, thank you so much. We will be hearing from you again as this testimony continues.

I'd like to bring in my next guest, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Jameel Jaffer says restricting

access to a speech platform that is used by millions of Americans every day would set a dangerous precedent for regulating our digital public sphere

more broadly.

And he joins me now live from New York.


companies hard questions about security and privacy. This really is a very significant threat to privacy and security that social media companies

collect so much information about Americans.

A lot of that information is sold to data brokers; even when social media companies do not sell, other companies sell it and this kind of information

can be used and misused all sorts of ways.

I guess my concern about this debate is that it does seem like there are narrower ways of addressing the government's legitimate concerns, than a

ban. A ban is -- a blanket ban would deny 150 million Americans from accessing a social media platform that they want to access.

You can look all over the world right now. Governments are invoking national security to deny their citizens access to media and social media.

I think we should be very wary of going down that road here in the United States, especially when there are less restrictive alternatives available.

So I hope that this -- the result of this hearing and other hearings like it will be comprehensive privacy legislation, not a ban on a specific app,

which I think would be in some ways underinclusive and in some ways overinclusive.


GIOKOS: Shou Chew actually said he is pro some of the legislation that has been tabled thus far. But on the question on selling to brokers, he said we

don't sell to any brokers.

But when the question came through, do you sell to anyone, he said I will have to get back to you on that.

Were you satisfied with that answer because it was really in the context of what are your financials, how much money are you making?

This is not just a public service, process. There is big money behind this and then the question becomes what are you exactly doing with the data?

And he could not get a direct answer on that.

Were you satisfied?

JAFFER: Well I would like to know more. It is possible that he had in mind was TikTok in a sense sells its data to advertisers. Advertisers on the

platform are relying on their data collection to target the ads at particular audiences.

You know I think at the end of the day, you know the truth is TikTok collects a ton of information about Americans. There is no getting away

from that. And other social media platforms collect a ton of information about Americans.

And the best way for Congress to address that very real problem is to restrict what social media companies and other companies can collect and

also restrict what they can do with the information they collect. That will be the best way to address the problems.

GIOKOS: I want to talk about the vulnerability of children. And Chairman (sic) Rodgers really hit home on this Wednesday. It was hair raising to be


He says, you know, we are protecting kids under 16 but he could not commit in terms of what we see to anyone under the age of 17. What about that


JAFFER: I do not -- to me, that is not the interests the government has raised thus far in favor of a ban. You know, the interests the government

have raised thus far had to do with data collection more generally, the availability of TikTok's algorithm to the Chinese government as a mechanism

for disinformation.

Those are the arguments the government has relied to justify a ban. So I am not sure how relevant all this stuff is about kids to this particular

question. But you know that said, I think the kinds of questions that the government is using legislators now asking TikTok are exactly the kinds of

questions that legislators should be asking all the social media companies.

TikTok is definitely guilty of these -- of these issues but so are the other social media companies.

GIOKOS: Domestic social media platforms as well as foreign. Jameel Jaffer, thank you very much for your insights.

Going to a short break.





GIOKOS: Fresh demonstrations across Israel as the parliament passes a bill that could bolster the prime minister. Police scuffled with protesters and

sprayed water at those blocking a highway in Tel Aviv. Thousands have been turning out to oppose the government's proposals to weaken the court. Part

of that package the Knesset today passed a bill that limits ways a prime minister can be declared unfit for office.

Journalist Elliott Gotkine is in Tel Aviv.

Major pushback on the policy front. Take us through the details.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before we get to the protests or the bill that was passed this morning, reducing the likelihood of Benjamin

Netanyahu being recused from office against his will, we just heard that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to fly to London.

Reports about departure, now been delayed. Netanyahu will give in the words of the government press office and the pm's office that will make an

important statement to the media at 8 pm local time. So in just about three hours time.

We don't know precisely what he is going to say. There are reports that the defense minister and also a fellow member of Netanyahu's Likud Party in the

Knesset is reported to be planning a speech in which he will call on the government pause its judicial overhaul plans.

Now if this happens and this may very well be related to what Netanyahu is planning to say. If this happens, then we will have some serious news

relating to this judicial overhaul. It could be a game changer.

I don't want to speculate too much be we do have this important announcements. According to Prime Minister's office at least, together with

these reports that the defense minister, such an important position to Israel's government, reportedly planning to come out to call for a halt to

this judicial overhaul.

Those two things at this stage unlikely to be coincidental and that could have a very big impact on what we are seeing on the streets. What we have

been seeing on the streets for the past three months, mass protests, tens of hundreds of thousands of people coming out against this judicial


The two key points of which would enable the government to effectively stack the supreme court with its allies and also enable the Knesset to

ignore decisions by the high court, preventing them from striking down laws passed by the parliament, effectively removing all checks and balances on

the government.

That is what these people are out on the streets for. There have been dozens of arrests today. Police have used water cannon against protesters

to unblock highways and the protesters continuing in Tel Aviv and have been taking place across the country.

And before we got this news about -- we don't know what it is exactly -- we learned that Netanyahu is planning a speech, before these reports came out

about defense minister planning to call for a halt to this judicial overhaul, these protesters were emboldened by the passage of this law in

the wee hours of the morning, which would -- which would prevent Benjamin Netanyahu being removed from office, except with 75 out of the Knesset's

120 members of the Knesset.

And only then in the case of mental or physical incapacity. So effectively make it almost impossible for Netanyahu leave office unless by his own

volition, so that might embolden the protesters today.

Protests have been going on midweek every week for the last 10 weeks, every weekend for the last 12-13 weeks and what we may hear from Netanyahu could

bring this impasse to a close.

GIOKOS: Thank you so much for staying on top of everything.

Staying in the region now, frustration as well as anger over Lebanon's spiraling economy boiling over on Wednesday.


GIOKOS (voice-over): Protesters gathered outside parliament in Beirut furious over the deteriorating economic and political situation. Security

forces fired tear gas to clear the crowd. Most of the protesters were retired military personnel.

(INAUDIBLE) over the dwindling value of their pensions. Lebanon's national council (ph) at a record low earlier this week, that crash taking place as

the central bank's governor is under investigation in Lebanon and Europe for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars in public funds.


People angry over a controversial new law that raises the retirement age in France are stepping up their protests in a nationwide strike. Earlier

demonstrators blocked the entrance to a terminal at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris venting their frustration after the bill was pushed

through parliament last week without a vote..

In the city of Toulouse, protesters burned tires to a block -- to block a highway as parts of the demonstrations. We've got Melissa Bell joining us

from Paris.

Emmanuel Macron making his position clear. That message not getting through; people still seem infuriated. Tell us about what you are seeing on

the ground right now.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That message did get through. That is what is winding these protesters up, that this would go

through by the end of the year. Also they spoke to exactly what we've been seeing as a consequence of that, forcing through parliament of that


That has led to spontaneous protests over the course of the last few days, some scuffles on the edges. That is now happening up ahead. Where I am now

things are largely peaceful. But you can see the people on the streets today to protest.

What has really further fueled their anger was Macron speaking, saying everything would be done for normal life to continue. (INAUDIBLE) blockages

at the petrol refineries, oil depots having such an impact that the petrol station that the blockages ag the airport are directly aimed at what he

said yesterday.

The unions and those who oppose this measure are going to continue all they can to block the country in order to make (INAUDIBLE). Although from a

parliament legislative point of view, this now becomes law barring some massive turnaround when it gets to the constitutional council in the next


Then their aim is to get the government to back down. (INAUDIBLE) then numbers on their side and the capacity to bring the country to a halt. They

think that will force the government (INAUDIBLE).

GIOKOS: Melissa Bell, thank you so much.

Going to a very short break. Stay with CNN.