TikTok ‘stunt’ backfires as House lawmakers push to change company ownership

Mar 8, 2024, 7:57 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2024, 12:34 pm

Utah Rep. John Curtis discusses how a “stunt” by TikTok to influence House lawmakers just anger...

Rep. John Curtis talks in the Deseret News and KSL newsroom in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Looking to change ownership of the TikTok app, House lawmakers got a big boost in their efforts from the company owner.

Lawmakers said TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, has links to the Chinese Communist Party — something denied by ByteDance, according to the BBC.

According to an article from NBC News that cites a Network Contagion Research Institute report, TikTok’s content on some political subjects aligns with the Chinese government.

Utah Rep. John Curtis is one of the biggest advocates in Congress for stricter regulations on TikTok. He joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson about the legislation designed to protect Americans’ data from the Chinese Government.



President Biden said Friday he would sign into law a bill that could lead to the ban of TikTok in the United States. This has fueled lawmakers’ latest push to block the app’s Chinese owners from operating in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports.


If enacted into law, ByteDance would have a little more than five months (165 days) to sell ownership of TikTok.

If not divested by that date, it would be illegal for app stores such as Apple and Google to make it available for download, CNN reports.

TikTok stunt blows up, angering House committee

House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed a bill unanimously (50-0). Anticipating the committee voting on the bill to change company ownership, TikTok pulled a “stunt,” Curtis said.

“TikTok’s reaction to [the vote] was to put up on the screen of anybody that accessed the app . . . a requirement that [users] enter their ZIP code and then a requirement to actually call the members of Congress before they could use the app — and that so angered the committee.”

“Boyd, for this committee to come out 50-to-zero, you know that we have to have some strong feelings — every Republican and every Democrat voted for this bill,” Curtis said.

Curtis posed a rhetorical question about where TikTok’s actions might ultimately lead during an election.

“Imagine if that we’re for an election, and TikTok wanted everybody that uses their app to call on a specific politician and weigh in a certain way.

“The ability to influence an election — particularly now with their algorithms of changing behavior — and it is really scary, and it’s so bothered to committee. That’s why they got that 50-to-zero vote,” Curtis said.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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TikTok ‘stunt’ backfires as House lawmakers push to change company ownership