How TikTok failed to make the case for itself


A TikTok logo surrounded by jazzy lines and colorful accents
Illustration: Nick Barclay / The Verge

On Thursday morning, the chief executive of what is perhaps the world’s most popular social app went before Congress. Like so many social media CEOs before him, Shou Zi Chew’s mission was to persuade skeptical lawmakers that his company, TikTok, operates responsibly and within the bounds of the law. In the face of doubts and outright hostility, Chew would have to remain calm and genial, attempting to make his case while in the straitjacket of Congress’ hearing format: an hours-long series of mostly yes-or-no questions, his answers preempted by most lawmakers before he could begin a second sentence.

It is a ritual previously endured by Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey, among others. And while each of them…

Continue reading…