Washington:

An executive of the social media app TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, denied during a US congressional hearing on Tuesday that it had briefed the Chinese government and said it had taken steps to protect US data.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee subcommittee, said she is concerned about TikTok’s collection of data, including audio and a user’s location, and its ability to gain access to Chinese government information.

Blackburn pressed TikTok’s head of public policy for the US, Michael Beckerman, over whether the company could resist giving data to China’s government if the content is solicited.

“We do not share information with the Chinese government,” Beckerman replied.

Blackburn said the Chinese government had a financial stake in ByteDance and a seat on the board, which Beckerman denied. Beckerman also said that external researchers have found that TikTok collected less data on users than its tech industry peers.

Beckerman testified that TikTok’s US user data is stored in the United States, with backups in Singapore.

“We have a world-renowned US-based security team that handles the access,” Beckerman said.

Republican Senator John Thune said during the hearing that TikTok is probably more driven by content algorithms than Facebook, as the app is famous for quickly learning what users find interesting and offering them that type of video. .

Beckerman said TikTok will be ready to provide the app’s algorithmic moderation policies so that it can be reviewed by independent experts by a Senate panel.

Republican former President Donald Trump has sought to ban TikTok – a popular platform used by millions of Americans – from the US App Store, saying it collects data from US users that can be obtained by the Chinese government. and poses a threat to US national security.

Democratic President Joe Biden later slammed Trump’s plan, but called for a comprehensive review of various foreign-controlled apps.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)