While lawmakers work to figure out what to do with TikTok, users send threatening messages

March 25 – TikTok has been part of a national discussion for the last few years. ByteDance, the company that runs the popular app is from China. 

The US House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would divest TikTok from the Chinese-based company so that a US business could take over the app.  

The bill is currently in the US Senate. 

Now users of TikTok have been sending threatening messages to lawmakers.

One Senator released a voicemail from a caller that threatened to shoot the lawmaker if TikTok is banned in the country. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “You can’t handle the idea that we’re not taking TikTok away from you, little ones. We’d like some divestiture of China into TikTok and we’re giving TikTok the ability to do just that, but it’s the young people throwing themselves a temper tantrum and now making threats against members of Congress.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Apparently some fairly serious threats. I was also struck over the weekend at the number of lawmakers that have school age and teenage children home, including John Fetterman. He did an interview saying his daughter came to him saying don’t ban TikTok. We need TikTok, which Fetterman said in his mind was confirmation on why they do need to vote to ban it. He’s very out front saying we need to get rid of this.”

More than 40% of Millennials apparently rely on TikTok as their primary source of information. 

Barkdoll continued, “To me, that’s a scary statistic. They are revolting. This idea that it may suddenly go away, it’s almost like they’re going through a form of withdrawal, which I think supports this argument why we probably need to move more quickly to get rid of it. It’s a really strange situation.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “To let a foreign nation have oversight over a social media company that is feeding young people especially information. We know that the TikTok type of material available in China is certainly very different from what’s available in the United States. Other countries have banned it for national security reasons. They’re also of course collecting the data. I don’t care how much ByteDance tries to say, oh, we protect the data. No, I’m sorry. They have full control over your decisions about how you run your company. There’s no way you can say that you can protect that data. So for so many reasons, including the kids being addicted to this and getting their primary news sources and information from this company controlled by a foreign enemy, it really does say divest or ban and that has to be the choice.”

Barkdoll said, “Think about the discord and chaos that could be sown if China wanted to do something nefarious through that TikTok platform. No doubt they see the stats that a huge percentage of young Americans are relying exclusively on that platform to get their information. Think about what you could do if you wanted to disseminate disinformation or misinformation that could really create problems in society. That’s one of the points that you keep seeing the Senators bring up. Senators Rubio and Warner, they’re the two senior members of that Senate Intelligence Committee. They keep bringing up that argument on why the Congress needs to move quickly to get this done.”