TikTok Rallies Users for Support After House Passes Bill Potentially Leading to Ban

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‘Thousands of teenagers’ have called their legislators saying that ’they would kill themselves’ if Congress made ByteDance sell TikTok.

TikTok has rallied millions of its American users to call their senators to oppose a bill that could lead to a ban of the popular video-sharing app after the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill.

“Now, if the Senate votes, the future of creativity and communities you love on TikTok could be shut down,” the alert reads.

In the days leading up to the House vote on March 13, TikTok sent push notifications to users urging them to call their representatives to “Stop TikTok Ban.” The alert included a link to contact their representatives.

In another alert, TikTok told users that “if the House of Representatives vote to ban TikTok on Wednesday, the government will take away the community that you and millions of other Americans love.”

Lawmakers said their offices were bombarded with phone calls from users across various age groups. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said TikTok’s campaign targeted children.

“Most of these push notifications went to minor children, and these minor children were flooding our offices with phone calls,” Mr. Krishnamoorthi told CBS News on March 9.

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“Basically they pick up the phone, call the office and say, ‘What is a congressman? What is Congress?’ They had no idea what was going on,” he added.

Mr. Krishnamoorthi expressed concern about TikTok’s ability to access children’s data, citing it as the reason why the bill received bipartisan support.

“They don’t want a foreign adversary-controlled social media apps using geolocation to target minor children to call members of Congress or interfere in our elections. This is exactly the reason why this particular legislation is necessary now,” he said.

Teenagers Threaten To ‘Kill Themselves’

Rep. John James (R-Mich.) said in a video posted on X that “The greatest indication I’ve seen that Tiktok is toxic is the fact that thousands of teenagers” have called their legislators saying that “they would kill themselves” or “commit suicide if Congress made ByteDance sell TikTok.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stated on X that TikTok had used its app to “force thousands of Americans to call their member of Congress to oppose banning the app.”

“How are we still having a conversation about whether or not this app could be used to spread propaganda?” the senator questioned.

The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), chaired by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.), accused TikTok of “lying to its users and using them to lobby Congress to benefit a foreign adversary—the CCP.”
The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act passed with a 352–65 bipartisan vote on March 13, although it remains uncertain if the bill will be adopted by the Senate.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on Jan. 31, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on Jan. 31, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video posted after the vote that TikTok “will continue to do all we can,” including exercising its legal rights to prevent a ban.

“I encourage you to keep sharing your stories. Share them with your friends, share them with your family, share them with your senators,” he remarked.

TikTok has continued to send push notifications to users, urging them to call their Senators to oppose the bill.

“TikTok is back again, lying about our bill,” the Select Committee stated on X on March 16. “Our bill is NOT a ban: it allows TikTok to divest from CCP control.”

The bill would grant the president sweeping authority to force the sale of foreign social media companies to American tech corporations.

Praise and criticism of the bill have flowed from both sides of the aisle, with lawmakers debating its implications for the First Amendment, data security, government overreach, and the malign influence of the CCP.

Concerns about TikTok center on its parent company ByteDance, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands but headquartered in Beijing.

Proponents of the bill argue that ByteDance is controlled by the CCP, which they say effectively renders TikTok into a tool for malign influence and to steal Americans’ data.

Previous attempts to ban TikTok at both the state and national levels have been blocked by court decisions for violating Americans’ Constitutional rights.

Andrew Thornebrooke contributed to this report.



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