Video collages and thirsty comments dedicated to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew have begun to pop up on the platform following the CEO’s testimony to Congress yesterday, when he spent five hours defending the platform in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
On TikTok, fan edits dedicated to the 40-year-old have declared him “TikTok daddy” and “the finest ceo of our generation.”
Chew was in the hot seat fielding questions from lawmakers on the future of the popular video-sharing app, which currently has over 150 million monthly users in the United States alone.
Both Democratic and Republican politicians have expressed concerns over the app’s China-based parent company and what it means for user safety, data privacy, and national security. Some lawmakers have called for the platform to be banned in the US over worries that its parent company, ByteDance, could or would share American user data with the Chinese government. In his testimony, Chew said there was no evidence the Chinese government had ever accessed user data.
There are currently three bills in Congress that could affect American access to TikTok. Two would legislate an outright ban of the platform, while the other would give the government the power to ban any technologies that are deemed a national security risk.
Yesterday’s hearing put the TikTok CEO in the spotlight as he asserted banning the app would be harmful to millions of American businesses, and that a new subsidiary named Project Texas would provide a meaningful solution that would allow the app to remain active in the US.
While lawmakers looked to be unconvinced, Chew’s defense of the application, including his praise for subcommunities within the app, like “BookTok,” a community for people to discuss reading recommendations, seemed to strike a chord with those who have found inspiration on the platform.
Online, a growing group of creators appeared impressed by Chew’s performance despite the tense nature of the hearing and have shown their admiration in the most organic way: by creating fan edits and memes.