Reps. Buddy Carter and Jay Obernolte, House Energy and Commerce Committee members, told Newsmax on Thursday that they have questions for TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about the video app's Chinese ownership and its safety for Americans.
"It's just psychological warfare that we're witnessing here that the Chinese Communist Party, through TikTok, is performing on our children, and it's got to stop," Carter, R-Ga., said on Newsmax's "National Report" before the hearing began.
Carter noted that the app's leaders are not moderating the "illegal and dangerous content" on the platform, including dangerous "challenge" videos.
"They do moderate it on the Chinese version of TikTok, but they don't on the American version," Carter said. "Why is that? That's one question I want the CEO to answer."
Carter and Obernolte were on Newsmax before Shou's appearance before their committee. The hearing comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the White House are voicing concerns about the app's ownership.
Members of Congress are asking Shou about TikTok's relationship with Chinese owner ByteDance and about how the app handles sensitive user data.
Carter also pushed back against comments made Wednesday by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., who said the app shouldn't be banned because of lawmakers' "hysteria."
"What happens is a certain party, usually Republicans, whip something like this into hysteria, and we move way too rapidly in the wrong direction to write and pass legislation," Bowman told reporters while calling for several questions to be asked before a ban is put in place.
But Carter rejected the idea that the questions about TikTok have come too fast, saying he would "submit that we may have been a little slow to the game."
Obernolte, R-Calif., said he wants to ask Shou questions about data TikTok collects about its users and how it's being used.
Obernolte also rejected the argument that concerns about TikTok are coming as part of a partisan issue.
"No one wants to ban applications, but we have an obligation to protect our national security and the safety of American users," Obernolte said. "This hearing today is part of that deliberative process of figuring out whether we need to step in and do that. Republicans have voiced concerns and so have Democrats, and even the Biden White House, so it's something we're watching closely."
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