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The Street
The Street
Patricia Battle

TikTok is threatening a harsh new tactic to fight potential ban

TikTok has informed its staff in a new memo that it will be pivoting to a more aggressive tactic to fight Congress’ bill that aims to sell or ban it from app stores in the U.S.

In a memo to employees, Michael Beckerman, who is TikTok’s head of public policy, informed staff that the company will sue if the bill is signed into law, according to The Information.

Related: TikTok makes desperate move as Senate decides on the app’s future

“This is an unprecedented deal worked out between the Republican Speaker and President Biden,” wrote Beckerman. “At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge.”

Beckerman also reportedly claimed in the memo that the bill violates the First Amendment, and that “this is the beginning, not the end” of a “long process.”

The move from TikTok comes after the House approved a new version of the legislation on April 20, which is now attached to a package of foreign aid bills, inching it closer to it being passed into law. Currently, the TikTok bill is waiting to be passed by the U.S. Senate, and if it is, it will make its way to President Joe Biden’s desk. Biden previously said that he is planning to sign it into law.

Lawmakers originally developed the bill out of concern that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could send sensitive user data on its platform to the Chinese government and also help spread online misinformation. These are accusations that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has previously denied.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew listens to questions from U.S. representatives during his testimony at a Congressional hearing on TikTok in Washington, DC on March 23, 2023. (Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu/Getty Images

Before lawmakers introduced the bill that aims to have TikTok sold or ban the app, the White House last year banned federal employees from having TikTok installed on all government-issued cell phones.

“If you’re worried about privacy, as I know you are extremely worried about that, and if we don’t think Congress should be using TikTok, why in the world would we let our children use it or the American people?” said Republican Rep. Michael McCaul during a House Rules Committee hearing on April 18 that discussed the bill.

As the bill continues to move its way through Congress, TikTok has been strengthening its defenses in the fight to maintain its existence in the U.S. The company reportedly purchased $2.1 million of TV ad space last month, according to CNBC. The new ads from TikTok, shows multiple people sharing personal testimonials on how the app made them successful and even appears to encourage people to orchestrate protests to stop Congress from passing the bill.

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