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TikTok Users Unload On Congressional Offices Over App Legislation

Congressional offices, including those in the Pennsylvania delegation, are being inundated with calls from users of TikTok, the social media app, over the possibility that the House could move on a bill to force the app’s sale by its Chinese owner.

While the legislation does not call for an outright ban of the app, that has not stopped TikTok officials from rallying their users by utilizing that claim.

TikTok even has a pop-up on its app encouraging users to call lawmakers to stop a “total ban” of the app, arguing that it will infringe on their freedom of expression and damage millions of businesses. That pop-up even directs the user to their own elected representative, assumedly based on their location.

One Democrat staffer told PoliticsPA that “we are getting a lot of calls, and they are trending younger and are constituents who haven’t interacted with our office before.” A GOP staffer said his office has received between 200 and 300 calls today, ranging in ages from early teens to the elderly. Most callers have been receptive to the rationale behind the bill, the staffer said.

It appears that there was no script for callers to follow, rather most followed the popup “push” to action on the app.

One caller stated to a staffer that “I don’t care if they’re stealing my data. I just want to use the app.”

House Bill 7521’s official title is “To protect the national security of the United States from the threat posed by foreign adversary controlled applications, such as TikTok and any successor application or service and any other application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Ltd. or an entity under the control of ByteDance Ltd.”

TikTok, as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee, have taken to other means of social media to stake their claims.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), cosponsor of the TikTok bill, said the video app’s pop-up alert is lying about his bill. “If you actually read the bill, it’s not a ban. It’s a divestiture.”

He said his bill puts the decision “squarely in the hands of TikTok to sever their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.” If its Beijing-based owner ByteDance sells the app then “TikTok will continue to survive,” he said. Speaker Mike Johnson announced Thursday morning that he supported the legislation.

“But the basic ownership structure has to change. That’s the message we’ve heard from every single national security official in the Biden administration right now,” he added.

“We implore ByteDance to sell TikTok so that its American users can enjoy their dance videos, their bad lip sync, everything else that goes along with TikTok,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorth (D-Ill.), one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a news conference Wednesday.

Rep. John Joyce (R-13) represents Pennsylvania on the committee. His office stated that the White House has been involved in the drafting of the bill and wants the process to be as bipartisan as possible. Last month, President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign joined TikTok as part of an effort to reach younger voters.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The administration has worked with members of Congress from both parties to pursue a durable legislative solution that would address the threat posed by certain technology services operating in the United States that put at risk Americans personal information and broader national security. And so, what we see is this bill is important.”

One well-connected Republican said they are hearing the TikTok campaign to call lawmakers is “backfiring,” incensing members who were on the fence and are now leaning towards voting for Gallagher’s bill.

2 Responses

  1. So are y’all aware that Pennsylvania Republican billionaire Jeffery Yass owns 7% of Tik Tok worth approximately $21 billion. WAIT WAIT IT GETS BETTER… And, Donald Trump has been trying to ban Tik Tok since 2017. But just in the last week after receiving a visit from Mr Yass hole, Trump is now calling off the plan to ban Tik Tok. Trump sells off your children when a billionaire tells him to.

  2. This article is a joke. There is no threat to National security. It isn’t about lipsinc and dance videos. It’s about the truth that is being revealed on the platform with no restrictions


  • Do you agree that ByteDance should be forced to divest TikTok?

    • Yes. It's a national security risk. (60%)
    • No. It's an app used by millions and poses no threat. (40%)
    • What's ByteDance? (0%)

    Total Voters: 30

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