Watch lawmakers grill TikTok CEO Shou Chew

TikTok’s CEO Shou Chew testified Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill. He vigorously defended TikTok and fired back at charges from lawmakers that the social media app is a Chinese tool to spy on Americans or spread misinformation. “We have heard important concerns about the potential for unwanted foreign access to U.S. data and potential manipulation of the TikTok U.S. ecosystem. Our approach has never been to dismiss or trivialize any of these concerns,” Chew said.

In one tense exchange Georgia Republican Congressman Buddy Carter slammed Chew for TikTok users’ dangerous and sometimes deadly “blackout” challenges. “Why is it that you allow this to go on? We've already heard, God bless you, from parents who are here with us, who have lost children,” Carter said. In response, Chew maintained that “the industry” is working on the issue, to which Carter fired back “we're not talking about the industry, we’re talking about TikTok.”

Throughout the hearing Chew repeatedly rebuffed lawmakers’ arguments that Americans’ user data can be accessed by the Chinese government through TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance. “ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country," the CEO said in his opening testimony. "Our approach has been to work transparently and cooperatively with the U.S. government and Oracle to design robust solutions to address concerns about TikTok’s heritage."

During the marathon five hour hearing it was clear that Chew failed to convince lawmakers on either side of the aisle that TikTok was not a threat to the U.S.

Key video moments

00:12 TikTok CEO defends app

01:04 TikTok CEO on 'dangerous information'

02:00 'No evidence' Chinese govt. has access to U.S. user data