TikTok is urging users to call Congress about a looming ban

A TikTok logo surrounded by jazzy lines and colorful accents
Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

As support grows for a bill in Congress that would effectively ban TikTok in the US, the video platform is trying to rally support among a key group: its own users.

TikTok sent users in the US a push notification on Wednesday, warning that “Congress is planning a total ban of TikTok” that would “[strip] 170 million Americans of their Constitutional right to free expression.” The page says that a ban would “damage millions of businesses, destroy the livelihoods of countless creators across the country, and deny artists an audience.” The alert includes a way for users to find their representative and call their office.

A TikTok screen reading, “Stop a TikTok shutdown,” and a prompt for users to call their member of Congress and urge them to vote no.
Screenshot: Mia Sato / The Verge

The notification comes shortly after the White House expressed support for a bipartisan bill directed at TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The bill — called the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act — is in response to the perceived national security risks of TikTok, particularly around how the company collects user data. The bill would require that TikTok break off from ByteDance or risk being removed from app stores in the US.

This isn’t the first bill of its kind; some members of Congress have been trying to ban the app for years. Some city and state governments have banned TikTok from being installed on government devices, and last year Montana became the first state to actually ban the app — though that ban was blocked by a judge and is currently making its way through the courts. If passed, the new bill — which the American Civil Liberties Union argues would violate the First Amendment — will likely face legal challenges as well.

TikTok has previously appealed to its users as political pressure has mounted. In 2023, as support for a different bill was gaining steam, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared in a video posted to the official TikTok profile to warn users and ask them to essentially sound off in the comments. TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the push notification and what other efforts it has planned in response to the newest bill.