FACT CHECK: Did A Congressman Ask If Airplane Mode Allows TikTok To ‘Talk To The Airplane?’

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows a congressman asking TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew if turning on airplane mode while on a flight allows TikTok to “talk to the plane.” 

Verdict: False

The video is not genuine. It stems from a TikTok account that posts satire.

Fact Check: 

Wall Street analysts called Chew’s testimony on Capitol Hill a “disaster moment” for TikTok, predicting calls for a ban on the app will increase, according to New York Post. Chew was grilled by lawmakers concerned about the app’s U.S. data security and ties to China, CNN reported.

The Facebook video purports to show footage from the hearing on Capitol Hill, displaying a close up of Chew’s face with the text “Yes or No please?” overlaid. A speaker, supposedly a congressman, asks, “Mr. Chew, can you assure me or can you at least tell me, if you turn on airplane mode on a phone, can TikTok talk to the plane, please?”

“dude is being asked questions if tiktok can talk to the airplane in airplane mode… people in government need a basic understanding of technology moving forward,” the caption reads in part. “this entire hearing was hilariously humiliating for those asking the questions.”

This is not genuine footage, however. The video shows the handle @barneyplease whose bio reads, “cringe satire, parody, sketch life hacks and Eamon the cat.” Check Your Fact found no credible news reports about a congressman asking such a question.

Furthermore, the conversation does not appear in a transcript of the hearing. At no point during the hearing does TikTok’s interference with airplanes appear. (RELATED: Did Karine Jean-Pierre Send A TikTok To Reporters?)

Check Your Fact has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Germany for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter