Well, that was something. For roughly five hours on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew responded to a grilling by representatives from both major political parties who bombarded him with questions and accusations related to national security, TikTok’s data practices, and its Chinese parent company ByteDance’s alleged relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.
Chew largely kept his cool and often stuck to talking points about TikTok’s efforts to cordon off U.S. user data in an initiative dubbed Project Texas, or didn’t answer questions directly. In many cases, he couldn’t even get a word in as impassioned representatives demanded quick yes or no answers, or cut him off from speaking. In a statement following the hearing, a TikTok spokesperson said “the day was dominated by political grandstanding.”