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Today’s hearing on child safety was — mostly — an unusually focused affair. The Senate Judiciary Committee called up the CEOs of X, Meta, Snap, TikTok, and Discord and grilled them for four hours on the potential dangers their services posed for children. Many of the lawmakers emphasized emotional impact, playing to an audience filled with families who’d had kids targeted by predators or otherwise harmed online.
But midway through the hearing, it was dragged off course by a predictable tangent: the fact that TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. And a meeting ostensibly about keeping kids safe dipped into a now-familiar attempt to make TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew answer questions utterly unrelated to the rest of the day.