What surprised me most about the hearing was the clear bipartisan opposition to TikTok. To put it into perspective, there are 52 members of the US Committee on Energy and Commerce. All of the 49 members I counted that addressed Mr. Chew were strongly in opposition to either the company’s potential ties to the CCP or the toll TikTok is taking on the mental health of the youth.
As for the ties to Chinese leadership, Mr. Chew made it clear that TikTok is an independent company and does not take direction from the CCP. That position was called into question when Mr. Chew reported both TikTok and its parent, China-based ByteDance, share legal teams, suggesting ByteDance had a distant role in Chew’s preparation for the hearing. Separately, just before the hearing, Chinese leadership announced it opposes a forced sale of TikTok given that Chinese intellectual property is embedded in the company. These two factors strengthened Congress’ belief that TikTok will always answer to ByteDance and the Chinese party.