TikTok urges US users to call senators to vote no on TikTok ban

By Sheila Dang and Nazli Togrul

(Reuters) -TikTok displayed a notification to some U.S. users on Friday, urging them to call their senators and ask them to vote no to a bill that would ban the popular short-form video app if it is not divested from Chinese tech company ByteDance.

“Tell your Senator how important TikTok is to you. Ask them to vote no on the TikTok ban,” the notice said, which allowed users to enter their zip code to locate their senator’s phone number.

“Now, if the Senate votes, the future of creativity and communities you love on TikTok could be shut down,” the notice read.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pass the bill giving ByteDance about six months to sell the U.S. assets of the app, or face a ban. The White House said the Senate should take “swift action,” and President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill.

“We’ll continue informing our community about how the ban bill will affect them and what they can do to make their voices heard,” a TikTok spokesperson said, adding the alert is only being served to users of voting age.

The alert was displayed when some people opened the app, and it also appeared when users searched “TikTok ban.”

TikTok sent a similar alert to users ahead of the House vote, warning that “the government will take away the community that you and millions of other Americans love.”

Lawmakers complained their offices were inundated with calls from TikTok users opposing the legislation.

(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Austin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)