US House of Representatives express further alarm over TikTok content policy

US House of Representatives express heightened concerns over TikTok’s content policy, specifically regarding the censorship of a documentary on Jimmy Lai. TikTok faced backlash for suspending an account that posted content about Lai, sparking worries about ties to the Chinese government. Senators Warner and Thune emphasized the need for legislation to address national security threats posed by foreign tech companies, particularly those from China and Russia. The Biden administration has urged Chinese owners of TikTok to sell their ownership shares to avoid a potential ban in the US, despite the platform’s efforts to enhance data security.

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A group of US Representatives, as well as the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, have raised concerns over TikTok’s continued censorship – this time concerning a US-produced documentary on Jimmy Lai.

The pro-democracy Hong Kong press-media tycoon is the subject of a new film by Michigan-based think tank, Acton Institute. Last week they claimed their account was suspended after posting content about Lai, although the account was restored after the Chinese company faced public pressure. Accused of promoting the CCP’s international agenda, TikTok refutes any ties.

In a press release by US Senators Mark R. Warner and John Thune on TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s testimony before Congress in March, they reaffirmed their commitment to tackling US national security threats from foreign tech companies. The proposed RESTRICT Act ‘is vital for Congress to establish a process to review and mitigate the harms posed by foreign technology products from places like China and Russia’, the Senators explained in a joint statement.

Even though TikTok responded to further ‘Questions for the Record’ in a 54-page letter to Congress last week, the Biden administration has insisted that the Chinese owners of TikTok must sell their ownership shares in the widely-used video application or risk being potentially banned in the United States. ByteDance-owned TikTok has over 150 million US users and has spent over 1.5 billion dollars implementing stringent measures to ensure data security.