TikTok CEO to Testify Before Congress Over Privacy Concerns, Child Users, Ties to Chinese Communist Party

Shou Zi Chew will address the House Energy and Commerce Committee this spring

The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office on December 20, 2022 in Culver City, California
Mario Tama/Getty Images

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has agreed to appear and testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23, according to the committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash).

According to an official announcement on the committee’s website, Chew will testify “on TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.”

The popular yet controversial social media app remains banned from officials’ devices in both House and the Senate, in addition to a number of state governments.

Chew has not previously appeared before U.S. government officials, who are on the record with plans to aggressively grill him.

“Big Tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society,” the Energy and Commerce Committee’s statement reads, adding TikTok isn’t being singled out, as it’s “been at the forefront of asking Big Tech CEOs – from Facebook to Twitter to Google – to answer for their companies’ actions.

“These efforts will continue with TikTok,” the statement said. “ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data. Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms. We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people.” 

Promising “additional details to follow,” the statement said the testimony would be in front of the full committee. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Chew, who was installed as TikTok CEO in April 2021, was set to testify. Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s COO, was grilled by a Senate panel during a hearing in 2022. 

Some hawkish Republicans are proposing to have TikTok fully banned in the U.S., as last week federal lawmakers U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced No TikTok on the United States Devices Act that would prohibit “TikTok, a Chinese-based app, from being downloaded on U.S. devices and bans commercial activity with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.”