TikTok CEO grilled by lawmakers in hearing over possible app ban

Yahoo Finance Live discusses the implications of TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew's appearance before Congress and break down the potential for a ban of the popular social media app.

Video transcript

- All right, time now to break down the biggest business stories of the week with a vibe check, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yahoo Finance's Allie Canal is here with us. Up first, we have the TikTok hearing. And I don't know if good, bad, or ugly fits here. Atrocious, appalling might be more fitting. I don't think TikTok did anything to assuage the fears of national security concerns, the fear that data could be compromised by the Communist Party and weaponized if they need it.

I don't think anything was done to calm the fears of congressmen on the right or the left about their constituents, nor about our national security. And most of all, I don't think any parent like myself or anyone else out there watching can sleep at night now knowing how compromised their data could be and how much harmful content is on the platform and remains on there today.

Then again, is that any different than any other social media platform? No, probably not, save for the Chinese government aspect of this. Ultimately though, you talk to every content creator out there and all the businesses who also operate on the platform, they'll tell you they don't care. They were born in an era of which our data is just not secure. They're willing to give it away. And ultimately, do I think a ban happens? No chance, zero.

Why? I hate to get grim, but I would say Sandy Hook is why. Nothing has horrified parents and legislators more than the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut years ago. And what happened? Nothing, nada. Nothing happened at all. How about Frances Haugen? Remember the Facebook whistleblower? Testified before Congress that Facebook was knowingly putting on harmful content when it comes to eating disorders and young girls suffering from depression. What happened? You know what happened. Nothing did and nothing will now.

What happens? Congress raises a stink, they raise some money. Elections come, and issues go, guys. That's what will happen here, I'm sorry to say it. I know there's a lot of momentum. I know we have on people like the FCC commissioner, who talk about a ban. I would give it 5% to 10% chance of happening. He said north of 50. It ain't going to happen. Congress moves on to another shiny object, and they will here.

- I think Congress will move on. But I think there is certainly a lot of emphasis on this and on this moment. And I also think that it's something that Wall Street is taking notice of. We certainly have seen the reaction in some of TikTok's competitors here in the US. So I think more-- there is, at least, more thought going in to the possibility of a ban. Do I think it's going to happen? Probably not, given the fact that 150 million Americans use TikTok.

But I totally agree with your vibe check. It was terrible it was very alarming. It raised a heck a lot of questions. And we heard that from a number of lawmakers, saying that after this hearing, they actually got more questions-- they had more questions than they got answers to exactly the direct impact here on data, what it means for national security concerns, but also the social impact. And I think that's something that got a lot of people's attention.

- But the social aspect, you could say that about Facebook, about reels, about Snap, about Twitter, about every social media platform.

- Yeah, and that's what I was going to say. I really think it's this China component that is causing this platform to for a lot more scrutiny. But I got to say, this is a bipartisan issue. You want to get Republicans and Democrats on the same side. You just got to give them TikTok.

And for me, personally, I'm a true millennial. I just go on the Instagram Reels, and I see the old TikToks back in the day. I don't frequent the app. I have the app. But I was concerned a little bit about privacy. But as we've kept saying, that really is something that we've seen across all of social media. It's a systemic problem.

- Yeah, but it was a-- I would say terrible would be the vibe check of TikTok.