Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Shou Chew, CEO of TikTok.

The TikTok fight comes to your television screen

The fight over banning TikTok, long confined to congressional committees, federal boards and online screeds, has now moved to television screens across the country.

Two entities are running ads about the perceived danger of the popular social media app, which is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company.

The American Parents Coalition is up with a new ad urging Congress to pass legislation to ban TikTok. The spot says it takes eight minutes on TikTok to promote eating disorders and two minutes to “glorify self-harm.” The spot says TikTok is “targeting America’s youth” and notes that 41% of children spend 120 minutes a day on the app.

“We can’t go on like this,” the spot says. “Stop the poison.”

According to our friends at AdImpact, the ad is running in Philadelphia, Lansing, Mich., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Cleveland-Akron, Peoria-Bloomington, Ill., Augusta, Ga., Ft. Myers-Naples, Fla., and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif.

The other ad is being paid for by State Armor Action, a national-security-focused group. It’s running in Columbus, Ohio, Billings, Mont., and Missoula, Mont. — three areas with competitive Senate races in November.

This ad says that Zhang Fuping, the vice president of ByteDance and a member of the CCP, “controls what 170 million Americans think.” The spot continues that TikTok is “stoking division and driving misinformation.”

“China is using TikTok to sway American politics and opinion,” the narrator says.

On Capitol Hill: Senate leaders are still weighing how to address TikTok after the House overwhelmingly approved a bill forcing its divestment from ByteDance. TikTok would be banned in the United States if the sale doesn’t occur within a certain timeframe.

Members of the Senate Intelligence and Commerce committees got a classified briefing last week about the national security threats posed by TikTok. But it provided little clarity about how the Senate will proceed.

Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.), who supports the forced-divestiture bill, noted that House members received the same briefing before voting unanimously to advance the bill in committee. Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) was noncommittal after the briefing, suggesting at one point that she and Warner’s panels do a joint hearing.

Proponents of the House bill are concerned that the Senate could slam the brakes on the effort. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he’s still talking to his colleagues about how to handle the issue.

— Jake Sherman and Andrew Desiderio

The AI Impact

What are the potential pitfalls of AI in healthcare, an industry that deals with human lives and sensitive personal data? Learn more in the second installment of the AI Impact.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.