CEO of the popular social media website TikTok, Shou Zi Chew has come out to throw some insight into the controversy trailing the process the company takes to vet potentially underage users on its platform.
It can be recalled that the United Kingdom had banned its officials from using the app on their official phones. The government fears sensitive data held on official phones could be accessed through the app by Chinese government.
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While being questioned at the Congressional hearing about Tiktok’s use of biometrics, Chew denied the allegation that the app collects body, face or voice data to identify its users beyond what’s needed for its in-app AR filters to function.
When asked how TikTok determines the age of its users, Chew responded that the app uses age gating. This refers to the commonly used method that simply asks a user to provide their birthdate in order to determine their age.
In the hearing, Chew also added that TikTok indeed scans users’ videos to determine their age.
“We have also developed some tools where we look at their public profile, to go through the videos that they post to see whether…,” Chew began, before being interrupted by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), who interjected saying the process is creepy. He however requested for more information about the process.
Chew continued explaining that the app checks users’ public video to see if it matches up the age that the user declared.
“It’s public. So if you post a video, you choose that video to go public — that’s how you get people to see your video. We look at those to see if it matches up to the age that you talked about it.”
“Now, this is a real challenge for our industry because privacy versus age assurance is a really big problem,” Chew said.
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