TikTok’s marketing blitz seems to do little to win over lawmakers

by Anna Munhin Mar 24, 2023 News
TikTok’s marketing blitz seems to do little to win over lawmakers

The images are by Chip Somodevilla.

The CEO of TikTok testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the app's privacy and data practices, its potential impact on kids, and its relationship with the Chinese government, in light of a potential ban proposed by the Biden administration earlier this month.

The Washington Post reported that Chew faced an " especially combative grilling" on questions ranging from content censorship to national security concerns. The time he was given in the hearing was used to emphasize the app's safety features for kids, refute claims about its connection to the Chinese government, and discuss its plans to protect Americans' data privacy.

TikTok promoted its brand image ahead of the hearing.

The platform had reached 150 million monthly active users in the US, and Chew encouraged users to share what they love about the platform to share with legislators. TikTok ran ads around DC and in popular Beltway outlets tout its safety commitments. Climate change and artificial intelligence have been updated with misinformation.

The testimony and marketing efforts of TikTok may not have changed the minds of lawmakers. Lawmakers mentioned the bipartisan nature of the committee during the hearing.

It is unclear whether ByteDance will look to sell TikTok to avoid a ban or what a ban would look like if it doesn't. The Chinese government objected to the sale of TikTok.

The American Data Privacy and Protection Act, a bill that has bipartisan support, could be affected by the TikTok concerns.

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