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Evaluation: Is TikTok’s time up? CEO’s skewering earlier than Congress raises questions on app’s future within the US

CNN  — 

Is TikTok’s time up?

That’s the query coursing via the halls of Congress, Wall Road, and the general public writ massive after the social media firm’s chief government, Shou Zi Chew, waffled for hours earlier than US lawmakers on Thursday.

“TikTok’s destiny within the US is on shakier floor than ever following lawmakers’ grueling questioning of Chew,” Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg mentioned.

The 40-year-old Harvard-educated Chew was by no means going to get a heat welcome from US lawmakers. That a lot had been telegraphed forward of Thursday’s listening to within the clearest doable method. And Chew was effectively conscious he would probably be greeted with a chilly reception, which is why he spent hours and hours getting ready over the past week for his first sworn testimony earlier than US lawmakers.

However it was putting how the TikTok chief flailed beneath aggressive questioning from each Republicans and Democrats, uniting the events in a manner that’s hardly ever ever seen in American politics anymore. “Mr. Chew, welcome to essentially the most bipartisan committee in Congress,” Republican Rep. Buddy Carter mentioned. Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas echoed, “You’ve been one of many few members to unite this committee.”

A model of this text first appeared within the “Dependable Sources” publication. Join the day by day digest chronicling the evolving media panorama right here.

To be clear, fairly a couple of members of Congress had been merely not within the info. They had been by no means going to be moved by something Chew mentioned. They’d their speaking factors and had been going to deploy them throughout their allotted time as cameras had been rolling. They couldn’t care much less about technical speak associated to routing server visitors via Oracle. It was by no means going to matter or affect how they behaved.

“Shou got here ready to reply questions from Congress, however, sadly, the day was dominated by political grandstanding that didn’t acknowledge the true options already underway via Mission Texas or productively tackle industry-wide problems with youth security,” a TikTok spokesperson mentioned after the listening to.

That mentioned, Chew wanted to supply clear, direct solutions to questions posed by lawmakers, notably these relating to fears of potential Chinese language authority over the corporate. As an alternative, his murky solutions on questions pertaining to the Communist Celebration of China led to added confusion at instances.

Even when every little thing TikTok claims about firewalling US information from Chinese language actors through Oracle’s Texas-based servers is true, it was evident from Thursday’s listening to that lawmakers merely don’t purchase it. And that poses a major problem for the corporate because it faces mounting requires it to be outright banned.

As Kara Swisher instructed me, “Whereas the politicians on either side had been posing for the cameras and may have been scrutinizing US social media websites for years and passing legal guidelines to guard US customers, TikTok goes to get the brunt of it and can now have solely two selections, a spin or a ban.”

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