Members of Congress Receiving Threats Over Looming TikTok Ban

Congress threats TikTok ban
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Congress threats TikTok ban
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Photo Credit: Darren Halstead

As legislation that may be an effective ban on TikTok winds its way through Congress—some representatives are receiving threats.

A new report from The Washington Post reveals that the U.S. Capitol Police are investigating a rise in reports of ‘threats and concerning messages’ surrounding the upcoming TikTok discussion.

“The exact abundance of such calls is unclear, but one Senate aide said their office has received roughly a dozen violent threats since TikTok began urging users to contact members of the chamber,” the report reveals. Another House aide said their office “received multiple calls from people suggesting they will commit self-harm if Congress passes legislation targeting the app.”

Legislation that would require Chinese company ByteDance to divest from TikTok or face a ban in the United States has already wound its way through the house. Now U.S. Senators are being briefed by national security advisors on the risks of the app ahead of a vote in the Senate to pass the legislation.

TikTok has been encouraging its users to contact their local Congress person with pop-up messages in the app. The pop-up message reads ‘Speak Up’ to stop a ‘TikTok Shutdown’ and asks users to enter their ZIP code to contact the correct representatives.

But since news of the threats, TikTok has issued a statement that essentially says, ‘stop guys, not like that.’

“Threats like this are unacceptable and we condemn this in the strongest possible terms,” TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek says in a statement. “Clearly, there are millions of Americans who want to and have the right to speak out against the ban bill that would trample Americans’ constitutional rights of free expression, but we must all do so in a respectful, civil manner.”

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) released a snippet of a voicemail he received from a constituent about the app. “I’ll shoot you and find you and cut you into pieces,” the caller threatens after laughing repeatedly.