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

Hours after the House of Representatives passed a bill that could ban TikTok in the United States, Shou Chew, the company’s chief executive, urged users to “protect your constitutional rights.” Chew also hinted that TikTok would challenge legally if the bill is passed into law.

“We will not stop fighting and standing up for you,” Chu said in a video posted on X. “We will continue to do everything in our power, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform we’ve built with you.” He also asked US TikTok users to share their stories with friends , families and senators. “This bill, if passed into law, will led to TikTok being banned in the United States,” Chu said. “Even the bill’s sponsors admit that’s their goal.”

The bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Apps Controlled by Foreign Enemies Act, passed the House on Wednesday with bipartisan support just days after it was introduced. If the bill goes into effect, it would force TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, a Chinese corporation, to sell TikTok to an American company within six months or be banned from app stores and web hosting services in the US. 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 took effect.

Last week, TikTok sent targeted notifications to the app’s more than 170 million US users, urging them to call their representatives about the potential ban. “Speak up now – before your government deprives 170 million Americans of their constitutional right to free expression,” the notice said. The flurry of notifications reportedly resulted in House staff being inundated with calls from high school students asking what a congressman was. Lawmakers criticized the company, which they perceived as trying to “interfere” in the legislative process.

In his call, Chu said 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 view, arguing that banning TikTok would strengthen Meta, whose platform, Reels, competes directly with TikTok. Chu also added that taking down TikTok would also hurt hundreds of thousands of American jobs, creators and small businesses.

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