Cruz pushes TikTok into a corporate relationship with China with the first ever Senate testimony of a social media giant

[Ticktaku](//www.cbsnews.com/news/tiktok-cybersecurity-china-60-minutes-2020-11-15/) Public Policy Officer [Michael Beckerman](//www.cbsnews.com/news/tiktok-head-of-public-policy-young-user-safety/) At a Senate subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, social media companies told lawmakers that Beijing-based parent company ByteDance was considered part of a “corporate group.”

The approval that came after a fierce question from Texas Senator Ted Cruz is an important distinction for lawmakers who have expressed concern about TikTok’s data collection policy and its relationship with the Chinese government.

“Our data is accessed by a team in the United States. We do not collect biometric data to identify Americans. When we collect biometric information, we first provide consent and the opportunity for consent.” Beckerman said.

TikTok’s privacy policy states that we may share the data collected about you with the parent company, subsidiaries, or other affiliates of the corporate group.

Cruz also sought an explanation from TikTok about its relationship with a subsidiary of ByteDance. In August, [Reuters reported](//www.reuters.com/world/china/beijing-owns-stakes-bytedance-weibo-domestic-entities-records-show-2021-08-17/) The Chinese Communist Party has won a stake in Beijing ByteDance Technology, a subsidiary of ByteDance, which manages the Chinese version of TikTok called Douyin, and a seat on the board of directors.

Beckerman answers Cruz’s recurring question as to whether Beijing ByteDance Technology, which now has a former member of the Chinese Communist Party on its board, is also considered part of TikTok’s “corporate group” with access to user data. I refused to do that.

“The entity is not affiliated with TikTok, which is based on a domestic license for business in China that is not affiliated with or connected to TikTok,” said Beckerman. But he didn’t say whether his sister company, Beijing ByteDance Technology, was considered part of the company’s “corporate group” and was allowed access to user data.

“I asked three times about a sister company, apparently another affiliate, but refused three times,” Cruz told Beckerman. “It doesn’t give the committee the confidence that TikTok is doing anything other than participating in Chinese publicity and espionage against Americans,” Senator added.

Congressmen were also contacted by Snapchat and YouTube executives. It’s the first time a senator has publicly asked the leader of video and photo sharing company Snapchat, and the first time a TikTok executive has testified under an oath.

A hearing convened by the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security focused on online protection for children. Instagram is a young teenager after the same regulator last month presented Facebook executive Antigone Davis with an internal investigation showing whistleblower Frances Haugen that Instagram is having a negative impact on young girls. I asked about the impact on.

All three executives said they upheld federal law prohibiting advertising from targeting minor children. Beckerman said TikTok goes one step further and bans advertisers from targeting children on certain harmful topics.

Jennifer Stout, Snapchat’s vice president of global public policy, said he would support independent outside researchers who want to analyze the company’s usage. [algorithm](//www.cbsnews.com/news/facebook-algorithm-news-feed-conservatives-liberals-india/) .. Beckerman made a similar pledge. However, YouTube’s vice president of government and public policy, Leslie Miller, said data access by outside researchers “depends on the details” of the project.

Subcommittee is currently being held [Multiple Inquiries](//www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugen-senate-testimony-platform-trust/) Last month, we talked about the impact of social media platforms on young adults. Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the subcommittee, also called on Facebook CEO to testify about the impact of his platform on teens.

According to Blumenthol, American parents “untrust” the social media apps their children use.

“We need strong rules to protect children online, true transparency, and true accountability,” says Blumenthol. “I want a market where competition is about protecting children, not exploiting them,” he added.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ted-cruz-tiktok-senate-hearing-ties-to-china/ Cruz pushes TikTok into a corporate relationship with China with the first ever Senate testimony of a social media giant