TikTok congressional hearing: What to know as CEO testifies

Shou Zi Chew is expected to defend his company, as lawmakers in both parties have called for banning the popular video app

TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew said in an interview at the company's office near Capitol Hill last month: “We hear general unrelated fears, analogies, associations that don’t make sense” about the popular app. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
5 min

TikTok’s chief executive is set to go toe-to-toe with lawmakers on Thursday morning, a culmination of years of back-and-forth over whether the Chinese-owned app can be trusted.

It will likely be the grilling of a lifetime for Shou Zi Chew. Arguing that one of the world’s most popular apps is a national security threat, the Biden administration is pushing for TikTok to be sold to an American company, and a bipartisan slate of lawmakers have stepped up efforts to ban the app.

TikTok and its leaders have argued against those moves, launching a campaign to convince U.S. officials that the popular video app has no ties to the Chinese government, which U.S. officials claim can manipulate the app to further its interests.

Observers have referred to Chew’s willingness to testify before Congress as a “death wish.” But Chew says the grilling is a necessary step to restore trust in one of the world’s most valuable technology companies.

Here’s what to know about TikTok’s meteoric rise and lawmaker’s intense resistance to it: