TikTok CEO on spying allegations: ‘I don’t assume spying is the precise solution to describe it’

For some questions in life, there is just one right reply. Questions like: Does this shirt make me look fats? Do you continue to love me? Do you swear to inform the entire fact and nothing however? It’s once you begin quibbling over the definition of this or that phrase in response to these questions that you simply begin to appear like … nicely, like TikTok CEO Shou Chew throughout his testimony at a congressional listening to on Thursday. At one level, he dodged a congressman’s query about whether or not TikTok spies on US customers by nitpicking over the selection of the phrase “spying.”

The question from Florida Republican congressman Neal Dunn, with a reference to TikTok’s dad or mum firm, was this: “Has ByteDance spied on People on the route of the Chinese language Communist Occasion.”

Chew’s reply: “I don’t assume spying is the precise solution to describe it…”

TikTok to Congress: We don’t (air quotes) spy – choose a distinct phrase

The TikTok CEO’s participation in Thursday’s congressional listening to (and his mishandling of what ought to have been one of many best layups of a query) was essentially the most high-profile element of what’s developed right into a multi-faceted gambit by the corporate — underneath fireplace for accusations of being too shut or beholden to Chinese language authorities — to cease the looming implementation of a US ban.

Along with his testimony, the corporate additionally did the next:

  • TikTok introduced a military of influencers to descend on Washington DC over three days this week, courting lawmakers within the hopes of staving off a ban.
  • The corporate has been showering main US media shops with money, paying for outstanding messaging house and sponsorships linked to the likes of The Washington Put up, Politico, and Axios.
  • And its CEO shared a TikTok video of himself earlier this week, raving that now basically half of the complete US inhabitants makes use of TikTok — and that 5 million accounts belong to small- and medium-sized companies.

Chew’s efficiency through the congressional listening to, nonetheless, doesn’t appear to have received as many new supporters as the corporate in all probability wanted it to. “I don’t see any method TikTok isn’t banned at this level,” Founders Fund vp Mike Solana tweeted on Thursday. “Bi-partisan certainty the CCP is spying on 150 million People. They’re livid. I’ve by no means seen them lock-step in a listening to like this.”

‘Your platform ought to be banned’

Certainly, it’s been fairly some time since we’ve seen such bipartisanship within the blood sport that’s congressional politics. Two US Senators, for instance (Mark Warner, a Democrat, and John Thune, a Republican) have a invoice pending that will enable the US Commerce Secretary to ban TikTok — in addition to some other app linked to a international nation.

They launched a press release through which they expressed how inspired they really feel over the “fast momentum and powerful bipartisan assist for our laws that can solely develop following at present’s testimony.” Likewise, Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy informed CNN that he’s in favor of laws banning the app. The Home Commerce Committee chairwoman additionally informed Chew at present that she thinks “your platform ought to be banned.”

To paraphrase the person himself, I feel bipartisan is certainly the precise solution to describe it.