TikTok’s CEO urges users to ‘protect your constitutional rights’ as US ban looms

Hours after the House passed a bill that could ban TikTok in the United States, Shou Chew, the company’s CEO urged users to “protect your constitutional rights.” Chew also implied that TikTok would mount a legal challenge if the bill is passed into law.

“We will not stop fighting and advocating for you,” Chew said in a video posted to X. “We will continue to do all we can including exercising our legal rights to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you.” He also asked TikTok users in the US to share their stories with friends, families, and senators. “This legislation, if passed into law, will lead to a ban of TikTok in the United States,” Chew said. “Even the bill’s sponsors admit that’s their goal.”

The bill, known as the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” passed the House on Wednesday with bipartisan support just days after it was introduced. Should the bill pass into law, it would force TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, a Chinese corporation, to sell TikTok to a US company within six months, or be banned from US app stores and web hosting services. TikTok has challenged state-level bans in the past. Last year, TikTok sued Montana, which banned the app in the state. A federal judge temporarily blocked that ban in November before it went into effect.

Last week, TikTok sent push notifications to the app’s more than 170 million users in the US urging them to call their representatives about the potential ban. “Speak up now — before your government strips 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression,” the notification said. The wave of notifications reportedly led to House staffers being inundated with calls from high schoolers asking what a Congressman is. Lawmakers criticized the company they perceived as trying to “interfere” with the legislative process.

In his appeal, Chew said that banning TikTok would give “more power to a handful of other social media companies.” Former President Donald Trump, who once tried to force ByteDance to sell TikTok in the US, recently expressed a similar sentiment, claiming that banning TikTok would strengthen Meta whose platform, Reels, competes with TikTok directly. Chew also added that taking TikTok away would also hurt hundreds of thousands of American jobs, creators, and small businesses.

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