TikTok buys TV ads amid Senate review of potential ban

TikTok has launched a $2.1 million advertising campaign aimed at senators in battleground states with tough reelection fights. The message of the campaign is clear: Block the House bill that could effectively ban the app in the United States. The company has reserved television ad space in states like Nevada, Montana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – all represented by vulnerable Senate Democrats running for reelection.

The ads feature purported TikTok users expressing concern about the impact a ban would have on small businesses and livelihoods. Despite the hyperbole, the legislation passed by the House isn't an outright ban. Instead, it requires TikTok's China-based parent company, ByteDance, to divest the app from its holdings within about six months of the bill being signed into law.

The fate of the TikTok bill in the Senate remains uncertain. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated that senators need time to review the legislation before any potential passage. President Joe Biden has expressed willingness to sign the bill if it passes the Senate.

TikTok has been engaging in high-pressure lobbying efforts to prevent the ban, with a spokesman stating that the government's actions could harm small businesses and trample free speech rights. The company has increased its advertising investment, focusing on national and local television ads.

The ads are part of TikTok's broader strategy to influence the Washington debate regarding data protection and national security concerns related to the app's Chinese ownership. TikTok users have flooded congressional offices with calls urging lawmakers to vote against the ban. Some senators, like Thom Tillis, have even received threatening voicemails in relation to the potential ban.

Overall, the future of TikTok in the United States remains uncertain as lawmakers grapple with the complex issues surrounding the app's ownership and data security concerns.


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