TikTok Fan Makes Death Threat Against GOP Senator Over App Legislation

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‘Callers like this who communicate threats against elected officials could be committing a federal crime,’ says Sen. Thom Tillis.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) warned of the danger of TikTok’s current ownership structure after a supporter of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app left a voicemail threatening to “shoot” him.

In a Wednesday post on X, formerly Twitter, Mr. Tillis shared a 27-second voicemail that his office had received a day earlier. The unidentified female caller—who the congressman alleged was apparently influenced by TikTok’s misinformation campaign—was upset about how the app could be banned.

“Okay, listen. If you ban TikTok, I will find you and shoot you,” the caller says while chuckling. “That’s people’s jobs, and that’s my only entertainment. And people make money off there, too, you know. I’m trying to get rich like that.

“Anyways, I’ll find you and shoot you and cut you into pieces. Bye,” the caller concludes.

At issue is Congress’s push to mandate TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to fully divest from the social media platform. This move aims to remove TikTok from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The legislation—the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act—was approved by the House on March 13 following a bipartisan 352–65 vote. The TikTok bill now awaits a vote in the Senate, though it is unclear when that vote will take place since some senators have said the legislation needs to be amended.

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In the days leading up to the House vote, TikTok launched a campaign urging its U.S. users to call their representatives to oppose the bill. TikTok is also asking users to contact their senators and oppose the legislation.

“This is a voicemail my office received last night,” Mr. Tillis wrote in his X post. “TikTok’s misinformation campaign is pushing people to call their members of Congress, and callers like this who communicate threats against elected officials could be committing a federal crime,” he said.

He pointed out that “The Communist-Chinese aligned company is proving just how dangerous their current ownership is. Great work, TikTok.”

TikTok issued a statement in response to Mr. Tillis’s X post. “Threats like this are unacceptable and we condemn this in the strongest possible terms,” the company posted on X on Wednesday.

It also alleged that “millions of Americans” oppose the TikTok bill and that the legislation “would trample Americans’ constitutional rights of free expression.”

TikTok

Critics have since been questioning TikTok’s statement.

“TikTok carelessly activated thousands of teenagers to call Members of Congress threatening assassination and self harm,” wrote Nathan Leamer, executive director of the Digital First Project, in an X post on Wednesday.

“Now the company claims to condemn these threats but in [the] same post commit to continue fomenting misinformation causing kids to make these threats,” Mr. Leamer continued.

“These are kids who need help. They should be contacting 988, the suicide and crisis hotline, NOT spreading hate and misinformation on behalf of the CCP,” he added.

Michael Sobolik, senior fellow in Indo-Pacific studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote on X that it took TikTok “over a week to say anything about these congressional death threats.”

“It happened [with] House offices last week too. TikTok didn’t say a word. They hoped it would blow over. It hasn’t,” Mr. Sobolik said.

“And in this non-apology to [Sen. Thom Tillis], TikTok repeats the same lies about the bill that are motivating these death threats,” he added.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), one of the original sponsors of the TikTok bill, expressed concerns about children calling Congress over the bill in an op-ed published in The Plain Dealer on March 19.

“Thousands of calls flooded congressional offices—including mine in Washington, D.C. The calls included children and young teens threatening suicide and violence if TikTok shuts down in the United States,” Mr. Latta wrote.

“Here’s the reality: The Chinese Communist Party is watching and cheering. They want to sow division in the United States. They want to manipulate children and steal our data. And they want to pressure Congress to keep the app active in the United States without decoupling it from Communist China,” he added.

Mr. Latta emphasized that the bill “does not ban TikTok.” Instead, he said TikTok would be available in the United States once it is determined that the app “is no longer controlled by a foreign adversary.”

“I urge the U.S. Senate to take up this bill and send it to the president’s desk,” Mr. Latta said.

“It’s time to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party and relinquish their control over TikTok. Let’s get it done.”



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