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TikTok lobbies to fight back against potential ban in the US

Whether you're a fan of the popular social media app or not, TikTok isn't going down without a fight.
Posted at 10:30 AM, Mar 14, 2024

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass a bipartisan bill that would force the owners of TikTok to either divest from the popular social media platform or face an outright ban in the U.S.

The bill criticizes TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, and its ties to the Chinese government. And while President Joe Biden has said he will sign the bill if it ever reaches his desk, it first must make its way through the Senate.

In the meantime, TikTok is fighting back. Posts on the social media site have popped up in recent days, urging users to call on members of Congress to oppose the bill.


The company is also encouraging content creators like Nadya Okamoto to speak out.

"This platform is so much more than silly little TikTok dances," she said. "I have used the platform to make content about growing my business, being a 26-year-old entrepreneur."

Meanwhile, TikTok is also employing lobbyists to fight back. Politico first reported that Kellyanne Conway — a longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump —  is lobbying senators in attempt to block the bill. The former president has also spoken critically of the legislation.

For the moment, it appears TikTok's lobbying effort is working, with Senators telling reporters that they expect thoughtful deliberation of the bill before a vote happens. Some lawmakers have even introduced the idea of establishing a commission to examine all social media sites — not just TikTok.

In the meantime, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is already preparing for the possibility that the bill is passed into law. He told CNBC Thursday that he's bringing together a group of investors in attempt to buy the app and keep it in the U.S.

"I think the legislation should pass and I think it should be sold," Mnuchin told the outlet. "It's a great business and I'm going to put together a group to buy TikTok."

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin creating group to buy TikTok
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin creating group to buy TikTok

His comments come a day after the House passed a bill that could force ByteDance to sell the platform or TikTok would be banned in the U.S.