A representative for TikTok later stated that the lawmakers were “grandstanding.” Certainly, there is some truth to it.
We did, however, learn a thing or two despite the often exasperatingly lengthy questions.
The youngsters of Chew do not utilize TikTok.
At one point during the session, Democratic congressman Nanette Barragán questioned Mr. Chew if his own children used TikTok.
He stated that they did not, as they reside in Singapore. In this country, the app is not available for children under 13 years old.
Mr. Chew clarified that the children’s version of the app is accessible in the United States, and he would let his children to use it if they were in the United States.
Chinese ByteDance engineers have access to certain US data.
Mr. Chew continued to discuss a program known as “Project Texas,” which will keep all data in the United States under the supervision of the American company Oracle.
Project Texas is not yet completely functional. Mr. Chew has confirmed that ByteDance engineers in China have access to data at this time.
He stated, “We depend on global interoperability, and Chinese engineers have access to data.”
That was an acknowledgment that politicians often reiterated. If data can be accessible by Chinese technologists, it is difficult to see how the Chinese government could not as well.
Chew has stock in ByteDance.
Mr. Chew’s attempt to distinguish TikTok from ByteDance was likely his least effective defense.
TikTok is owned by a Chinese firm by any standard. Mr. Chew was formerly the chief financial officer of ByteDance.
Mr. Chew originally refused to disclose if he had shares in ByteDance.
Legislators pressured him to admit guilt, but he attempted to downplay the connection.
What do you think about Cambridge Analytica?
Mr. Chew typically avoided conflict. He seldom engaged in combat with members of Congress. Nonetheless, there were sporadic instances in which he pushed back effectively.
When questioned about how TikTok uses user data, he stated: “With all due respect, US businesses do not have a stellar reputation with data… Consider Facebook and Cambridge Analytica as examples.”
That was a biting remark, but it made a valid point.
When it was revealed in 2018 that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy, and other third-party apps had harvested the personal information of Facebook users, there was widespread outrage.
Legislators unitedly opposed TikTok
Initially, there was bipartisan criticism of TikTok, but the level of mistrust and skepticism was extreme on all sides.
Republican congressman Buddy Carter stated, “Welcome to the most nonpartisan committee in Congress.”
Republican Dan Crenshaw thanked Mr. Chew for bringing Republicans and Democrats together: “Thank you, Mr.
It was very remarkable to see so many lawmakers, who seldom agree on anything, unanimously concur that TikTok posed a security risk.
TikTok later claimed that not enough effort had been devoted to the platform’s data security procedures.
“Also not discussed today by committee members were the livelihoods of the five million companies on TikTok or the First Amendment ramifications of eliminating a site beloved by 150 million Americans,” a representative for TikTok stated.
TikTok has reportedly spent millions of dollars on lobbying in Washington, D.C. If today is any indication, they will need to spend far more.