TikTok fights ban bill with mobilised users

Last week, users of the social media platform TikTok started receiving push notifications that urged them to oppose the bill that is currently being discussed in Congress, which aims to give ByteDance a six-month deadline to divest the US assets of the app. The bill also proposes a potential ban of the app in the US if the Chinese company does not comply. TikTok is said to have contacted creators to join rallies in Washington, DC, to oppose the bill. Now, PR professionals argue that the app must do more than just motivate users to contact their representatives in Congress. Some suggest appointing a few creators as spokespeople on the app's behalf, giving them a clear explanation of the company's corporate governance, and putting CEO Shou Zi Chew and other executives in front of cameras to explain the business and combat concerns about a lack of transparency. Former President Donald Trump, who had attempted to ban the app in 2020, is now the odd man out amongst Republicans by opposing the bill.

Additionally, analysts predict that China is likely to block any sale of the app. Aside from notifying its users, TikTok is not doing much else according to some political communicators who argue that the app should give a clear message to users about what exactly they should say to lawmakers. Another suggestion is to highlight the success of small businesses that thrive on the app.

TikTok itself has not commented on this story but has stated that the process was secret and the bill is a ban, hoping that the Senate will consider the facts and listen to their constituents. Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is said to be building an investor group to acquire TikTok in the US and save the app from being banned. While some PR pros see forced divestment as more likely than an outright ban, Chew has stated that TikTok plans to fight an exhaustive legal battle before succumbing to divestiture. Seems like only time will tell how this battle plays out.

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