At hearing in the House of Representatives on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced a barrage of questions about whether the data of American users could be vulnerable to surveillance by China.

Referring to Forbes message, later confirmed by the company itself, Florida Rep. Neal Dunn asked Chew whether TikTok parent company ByteDance had been spying on American citizens.

Chew’s response to one such question likely deepened Washington’s distrust of the company:

“I don’t think that spying is the right way to describe it,” Chew replied.

In December, TikTok admitted that ByteDance employees used the app to track via IP addresses the whereabouts of journalists critical of the company.