TikTok CEO doubles down and urges users to get loud and contact senators

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, March 23, 2023.
TikTok CEO Shou Chew testifies on Capitol Hill in 2023.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • The House passed a bill this week seeking to force a sale of TikTok — or ban it.

  • TikTok's CEO quickly responded with a video asking users to "make your voice heard" against it.

  • The legislation heads to the Senate next.

TikTok CEO Shou Chew is appealing to users of the video-sharing platform to oppose legislation that would force its Chinese parent company to sell the app or face a US ban.

Hours after the House voted 352 to 65 in favor of the bill, Shou responded with a video on TikTok urging users to "make your voices heard."

The rallying cry follows an earlier TikTok action that prompted users to input their ZIP code in order to identify and contact their representatives in Congress. Several users recorded their calls and posted them on the app.

"I encourage you to keep sharing your stories. Share them with your friends, share them with your family, share them with your senators. Protect your constitutional rights," he said.

Shou accused TikTok's opponents of spreading "misinformation" and said the company has invested in improving data security and keeping the platform "free from outside manipulation."

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. Shou presented his argument against it in terms that lawmakers are familiar with: Big Tech, small businesses, and jobs.

"This bill gives more power to a handful of other social-media companies," he said. "It will also take billions of dollars out of the pockets of creators and small businesses. It will put more than 300,000 American jobs at risk."

President Joe Biden has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Though not an outright ban, the bill would require any company owned by a "foreign adversary" 180 days to divest or sell to a US-based company to continue operating, a move that neither TikTok nor its parent company, ByteDance, have said they will accept. The Chinese government has also said it opposes a forced sale.

Over the past week, X users have responded in droves with their all-time favorite clips after the user @destroynectar asked, "What video is the reason they shouldn't ban TikTok?"

Meanwhile, some groups — including one led by the former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — have expressed interest in buying the social-media company in the event it does sell.

But Shou seemed to reject the idea that the service would continue to operate in the US, and it was his simplest sentence that could spur Gen Z and Alpha constituents to contact their representatives about the bill: "It will take away your TikTok."

Read the original article on Business Insider