Representatives of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok have canceled a meeting with US Senator Josh Hawley and are “not willing to answer questions,” according to the senator.
TikTok has recently been in the news with allegations of censorship and privacy invasion from several reports.
Most recently, TikTok was accused of purposely suppressing videos created by the disabled – something that TikTok actually admitted to.
TikTok has also been accused of censoring on behalf of China by removing videos about controversial subjects such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and videos about the Hong Kong protests – both topics that the Communist Chinese Party often suppress.
The social media video app is increasingly gaining popularity and this, combined with accusations against the company, has caused lawmakers to be skeptical about the rise of the social media app – especially as it’s China-owned, in a time when tensions between the US and China are high.
It’s not the first time that TikTok has avoided big tech critic, Senator Hawley. Over a month ago, TikTok refused to accept Hawley’s invitation to testify in a Senate Judiciary hearing over its ties to China.
Hawley had invited the company to attend the “How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors” hearing but they refused to turn up.
At the time, the company used the excuse that they weren’t able to attend because it was short notice: “Unfortunately, on short notice, we were unable to provide a witness who would be able to contribute to a substantive discussion,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
But it’s not yet known why TikTok has canceled this week’s meeting with Senator Hawley.
“@tiktok_us just cancelled their meeting with me this week. Not willing to answer questions. Get a call from Beijing?” Hawley tweeted, joking (perhaps only half-joking) about whether the company received a call from the Chinese government telling them to cancel the meeting.