TikTok pays to fly out creators to Washington as CEO is grilled by Congress

TikTok is doing all the pieces it might to forestall the federal authorities from banning the app in the USA, even resorting to paying to fly creators on the favored app to Washington to protest on Capitol Hill.

Influencers descended on the nation’s capital for an indication simply earlier than TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by the Home Power and Commerce Committee on issues starting from the app’s promotion of presumably harmful content material to kids to questions of nationwide safety, notably the gathering of private knowledge by its Chinese language-owned guardian firm, ByteDance.


The creators, nevertheless, didn’t descend on Washington on their dime. Creators who have been current informed the Washington Examiner the corporate paid to fly them out, and so they have been transported to an indication in help of TikTok by way of bus.

The compensation for transportation signifies TikTok had a hand in organizing the occasion and incentivized creators to point out up, particularly to spice up help for the corporate within the face of a doable TikTok ban within the U.S.

Whereas creators have been flown in from states everywhere in the nation, TikTok consultant Jamal Brown confirmed that the platform didn’t compensate creators exterior of transportation prices.

Regardless of creators on the demonstration spotlighting TikTok as a constructive, supportive neighborhood, at Thursday’s listening to, members of Congress identified how harmful a number of the content material introduced to kids will be.

TikTok Congress
Rep. Earl Carter questions TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew throughout a listening to of the Home Power and Commerce Committee on the platform’s shopper privateness and knowledge safety practices and influence on kids, Thursday, March 23, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(AP Picture/Alex Brandon)

“You’ll see a number of the challenges that we’ve seen on TikTok. You already know about them,” Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) mentioned, gesturing to a poster behind him that outlined a number of the alarming, life-threatening challenges which have gone viral on TikTok in recent times, such because the blackout problem, the NyQuil rooster problem, and the Benadryl problem.

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“They don’t have this over in China,” he mentioned.

Throughout the listening to, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) additionally pressed Chew on what TikTok is doing to mitigate the promotion of presumably harmful content material on the app. He performed a collection of clips associated to suicidal ideation and suicidal ideas that might seem on the “For You Web page” of any consumer who searches for content material associated to self-harm.

But, when the TikTok CEO was requested by Bilirakis if the corporate has full management over the app’s algorithm and, due to this fact, what sort of content material customers see, Chew refused to reply the query with a sure or no.

“We do take these points very significantly, and we do present assets,” he provided as a substitute.

The Home not too long ago handed the Understanding Cybersecurity of Cellular Networks Act, which might require the Nationwide Telecommunications and Data Administration to analyze the cybersecurity of cell service networks and the vulnerability of those networks to “cyberattacks and surveillance carried out by adversaries.”

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